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Retail NI has demanded immediate clarification from the UK Government on the three month ‘grace period’ for supermarkets announced by Michael Gove in his House of Commons statement, asking if it applies to local independent retailers and wholesalers?

This grace period will give supermarkets extra time to phase in new checks, ensuring food supplies from GB to NI do not face disruption from 1st January.

Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:

Commenting on the European Commission’s Vice President Maros Sefcovic and Minister Michael Gove’s agreement on the Northern Ireland Protocol, Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:

“This is welcome progress and I hope it will improve the chances of a free trade agreement”

“However, there is a lot of clarification needed from this agreement and we will need to examine it to see if this works for the whole retail sector and broader local economy”

Welcoming the Executive’s decision to confirm the reopening of non-essential retail on 11th December. Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:

“It is welcome news that the Executive has confirmed the reopening date of non-essential retail on 11th December. In saying that, these retailers will struggle to make up the losses from the two-week circuit breaker in the last few weeks of Christmas shopping”

Retail sector representatives, existing development site owners from the town centre, Erneside Shopping Centre and individuals who will be effected by the Old Unipork proposed development set out their objections to a planning application for the out of town shopping centre.

The Council will consider the application at its December meeting.

Commenting on the likely closure of Debenhams, Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:

“These few days have been amongst the worst our high streets have ever seen, with Arcadia going into administration and now the closure of Debenhams. Our thoughts are with their staff and families as they face an uncertain financial future so close to Christmas”

Commenting on retail giant Arcadia entering administration, Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:

“To potentially lose big names like Topshop, Burton and Dorothy Perkins is devastating news for our local high streets and our retail sector as a whole. The loss of footfall they provide for other traders compounds the problem”

“Our thoughts are with their staff and their families as they face a very uncertain future. It remains to be seen how much, if any, of the Arcadia retail empire can be salvaged and jobs saved”

Commenting on the £300m business support package announced by the Finance Minister, Conor Murphy, Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:

“This package is very welcome, and we look forward to working with the Executive on refining the detail and its speedy implementation to assist businesses that are hardest hit by Covid-19”

“Retail NI had been lobbying Ministers for some time on a High Street voucher scheme based upon the Jersey Government initiative and we are pleased that they listened and acted on our proposals.

With a surge in shoppers on high streets expected in the run up to the 27th November, Retail NI has urged shoppers to follow the Executive regulations and to make a particular effort to support independent retailers who are facing closure for two weeks. The business group has also issued a five-point plan for shoppers to follow.

Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:

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

“The Executive has made a decision which will kill small businesses, rather than the virus. Christmas has come early for Amazon”

“This appalling decision will be a hammer blow to our already struggling high streets and for thousands of independent retailers forced to close at the most important trading time of the year. Tens of thousands of jobs and small businesses are now at risk with this ill-considered move”

Commenting on the Executive’s decision on hospitality and close contact businesses, Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:

“Whilst this package of restrictions is far from perfect, at least we have a decision from the Executive that will give some certainty on opening for hospitality and close contact businesses”

“This decision provides a roadmap for the reopening of our high streets for the Christmas period and increased footfall for local retailers”

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