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Reacting to the Chancellors UK Budget statement, Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:

“Overall, this Budget is a bit of a ‘Curate’s egg’ with a mixture of positive and not so positive measures for the business community in Northern Ireland”

“We welcome the extension of the Furlough scheme until the end of September, but with employers expected to contribute 10% which will rise to 20% in the summer, it does reinforce the need for the Executive to clarify the timescale of its ‘strategy’ of lifting restrictions and allowing businesses to reopen”

Responding to 'The Executive's Pathway out of Restrictions' document, Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:

“Sadly, this falls far short of what is needed for a viable roadmap. It lacks detail, contains vague criteria for moving between the steps/phases and gives no certainty for retailers to plan ahead for reopening”

“Accepting that exact dates were not going to be in the document, the very least that could have been included should have been broad timelines to give retailers some idea of the next steps”

Reacting to the decision of Bank of Ireland to close half of their branches in Northern Ireland, Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:

“Nobody can deny the significant increase of online banking, but to close so many Bank of Ireland branches in so many of our local towns and on our high streets seems a step too far”

Reacting to the latest announcement by the Northern Ireland Executive on the continuation of the lockdown, the Chief Executives of Hospitality Ulster (Colin Neill), Belfast Chamber (Simon Hamilton), Londonderry Chamber of Commerce (Paul Clancy) and Retail NI (Glyn Roberts) have said in a joint statement:

Retail NI has welcomed the decision of the Executive to restore Click and Collect for independent retailers.

Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:

“Retail NI has been strongly lobbying for this welcome development which will provide a much-needed lifeline for struggling independent retailers. While it does not apply to all categories of retail, it is a step towards the reopening of our high streets and non-essential retail”

In a presentation to the Assembly’s Infrastructure Committee, Retail NI outlined a number of policy priorities to support high street recovery, including a five-year moratorium on new out-of-town superstores as is being proposed in Scotland.

Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:

Retail NI has slammed Antrim & Newtownabbey Planning Committee’s decision last night to grant permission for a 70,000sqft out-of-town ASDA superstore on existing industrial/employment land in the Monkstown Industrial Estate.

Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:

“This is a kick in the teeth for local independent retailers struggling with the pandemic and is a clear breach of the town centre first retail planning policy”

Ahead of this week’s Executive meeting, Retail NI has called for a high street reopening roadmap to be produced.

Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:

“It is unlikely the Executive will give a firm date for the reopening for non-essential retail; preparation for this and ensuring our high streets are fully compliant with the health regulations can begin now”

Retail Ni has welcomed a new £3m scheme by Invest NI to help independent retailers expand their digital marketing and sales.

Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:

“This is a very welcome scheme and I would encourage independent retailers to make an application if they want to grow their online sales and improve their digital marketing”

“The pandemic has proven beyond any doubt that every retailer, no matter what their size or what they sell, needs a strong and effective online presence”

Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:

“This is a further blow to our struggling high streets and dreadful news for Topshop, Topman and Miss Selfridge staff and their families as they face an uncertain financial future. This buying of the brand, rather than the stores is a disturbing trend which has huge implications for retail and our town and city centres”

“It is not just the immediate impact of these stores closing; it is also the reduced footfall for surrounding traders that will be a direct result of this purchase by ASOS”

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