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”

Collecting and transporting groupage consignments

Defra and DAERA have worked with hauliers to establish a new Groupage model which will aid the movements of these loads into Northern Ireland. Following successful trials with industry (involving taking goods from GB to NI), two Groupage models have been agreed.

Retail NI has called upon the Chancellor to extend furlough following the HMRC figures which showed a dramatic increase in the scheme by workers to 94,000.

Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:

“This increase in the furlough scheme illustrates just how much the lockdown is costing our local economy. On a near daily basis, we hear from members that their business will not survive this pandemic”

“The Chancellor must extend the furlough scheme beyond April if these businesses are to stand any chance of survival”