Interim Mental Health Champion, Professor Siobhan O’Neill has committed to do everything she can to help retail staff, who are themselves providing a frontline service to the public, during the current restrictions, and recent Government announcements for the next four weeks.  Following discussions with Retail NI, Chief executive, Glyn Roberts, Siobhan has committed to working with the sector on raising awareness of the need to respect everyone in retail who is providing a service right now, during this challenging time for everyone in the sector, and has encouraged the public to play their

A new survey has shown that 50% of businesses across the retail, hospitality and manufacturing sectors in Northern Ireland are ‘concerned’ or ‘very concerned’ about their performance in the year ahead, with a further 29% saying they are ‘uncertain’.  Over one third of respondents (35%) believe that their trading and profitability levels will not return to pre-COVID-19 levels ‘until 2022 or beyond’.

A delegation of Retail NI members met with the Finance Minister this morning to discuss further support for struggling independent retailers. Retail NI also welcomed today’s announcement from the Departments for Communities, Infrastructure and Agriculture of an additional £11.6m support package for town centres.

The business group has also called upon the Executive to get behind a Christmas campaign to get shoppers back into town centres to support local retailers.

Speaking after the meeting Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:

Retail NI has urged the Executive to wake up to the huge threat to our high streets after retail experts Springboard revealed that Northern Ireland has the highest footfall drop in the UK.

Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:

“These figures are a stark illustration of the scale of the huge threat facing our high streets in Northern Ireland. As we have said before, we have now moved from a high streets' crisis to a full-blown emergency and the Executive needs to wake up to this”

Commenting on the decision of the Irish Government to close ‘non-essential’ retail, Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:

“I was in contact today with our Irish counterparts, Retail Excellence Ireland, regarding this crisis, to convey that our thoughts are very much with their members as they face incredibly difficult times ahead”

Commenting on the Financial Support Scheme for impacted businesses unveiled by the Finance Minister, Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:

“It is disappointing that this scheme offers no effective help to those businesses in retail and the wider supply chain which will have to close as a result of a loss of trade, footfall and consumers.”

“The closure of hospitality will be a hammer blow to our local high streets and we need the Executive to step up and assist businesses who are impacted”

Retail NI CEO Glyn Roberts presenting to the Communities Committee

Our high streets will never be the same again after Covid-19 and the closure of hospitality sector is a hammer blow to our town centres. That was the message of Retail NI in its presentation to the N I Assembly Communities Committee today.

Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts told MLA’s this morning:

Commenting on the NI Executive’s new Covid-19 restrictions, Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:

“While we are relieved that the retail sector will be allowed to remain open, we are extremely concerned about the impact of the closure of the hospitality sector will have on reducing footfall for our members and our high streets”

‘The First and deputy First Ministers stated they want to urgently meet the retail sector to discuss these restrictions - we look forward to this meeting”

Trade NI, the Alliance of Hospitality Ulster, Manufacturing NI and Retail NI has warned the NI Executive to avoid a lockdown scenario, saying that it will cripple Northern Ireland’s economy and potentially set it back decades.

The group makes up the three biggest sectors of industry and the majority of businesses in Northern Ireland, employing around 300,000 people collectively. 

In a joint statement the Chief Executives of the Trade NI group - Stephen Kelly (Manufacturing NI), Colin Neill (Hospitality Ulster) and Glyn Roberts (Retail NI) commented:

Commenting on the speculation of a second lockdown, Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:

“The Executive is walking a tightrope of reducing the transmission of the virus along with keeping the economy going. However, a second lockdown would result in economic devastation off the scale, resulting in thousands of jobs being lost and businesses collapsing as well as a huge impact on the mental and physical health of our community”