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Retail NI has called for a zero-tolerance approach to verbal and physical abuse of shop workers and called for stiffer penalties for those who assault retail staff. The business group’s call comes as shop workers' trade union USDAW revealed that abuse of staff has doubled during the pandemic.

Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:

Antrim and Newtownabbey Planning Committee will meet today to decide on planning permission for a major 70,000 sqft out of town ASDA Superstore and Petrol Filling Station on existing industrial land in Monkstown Industrial Estate.

Retail NI has urged Councillors to reject the application given the impact it will have on local traders and existing retail jobs in the area, which have not been considered by the applicants or the Council.

Commentating on the new Labour Market Statistics published by NISRA this morning, Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:

“These figures are a real cause for concern with unemployment up thirty-three thousand since March and record levels of redundancies. With the Furlough scheme now tapering off, we have a real fear that these figures will worsen over the next few months”

With the wearing of face coverings being made mandatory today, Retail NI has urged shoppers to ensure they are complying with the law as they shop.

Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts:

“Retail NI and our members will work with the Executive to get the message out to consumers that it is now mandatory to wear a face covering in all shops. We have produced posters for our members to display outside their shops, which encourages shoppers to comply with this law”

Commenting on today’s decisions reached by the Executive, Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts:

“Retail NI and our members will work with the Executive to get its message out to consumers on the mandatory wearing of face coverings in shops. We are reassured by Ministers that retailers and their staff will not be required to police or enforce the wearing of face coverings and it will be the individual responsibility of the shoppers to comply with this law”

Commenting on the news that WH Smith is planning to cut 1500 jobs across the UK, Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:

Louise Haigh MP with Hospitality Ulster CEO Colin Neill, Belfast Chamber CEO Simon Hamilton, President Michael Stewart and Retail NI CEO Glyn Roberts

Belfast Chamber, Retail NI and Hospitality Ulster hosted the new Shadow Secretary of State, Louise Haigh MP on a walkabout in Belfast City Centre

The three Chief Executives of Retail NI, Belfast Chamber and Hospitality Ulster, Glyn Roberts, Simon Hamilton and Colin Neill said:

“Our three organisations were pleased to host the new Shadow Secretary of State on her first official visit to Belfast and briefed her on the many challenges facing our members at this time”

Commenting on the ‘Open Ormeau’ plan, Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:

“We need to show imagination and creativity in revitalising our high streets and public places to deal with the impact of Covid-19. In recent years the Ormeau Road has developed an excellent retail and hospitality offer which adds to Belfast as a whole”

“However, following extensive discussions with our members and the broader business community on the Ormeau Road, it is very clear that there is huge concern from them with the ‘Open Ormeau’ proposals”

Retail NI has welcomed the Executive’s £11m for the economic recovery of town and city centres from the impact of Covid-19 and called for a wider regeneration plan for our local high streets.

Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:

“This is a very welcome investment from the Executive in our town and city centres and we are pleased that Ministers have listened to our concerns. However much, much more will be needed to support our high streets as they recover from the impact of Covid-19”

Welcoming today’s decision by the Executive to adopt an initial voluntary approach to the wearing of face coverings in shops, Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts and Belfast Chamber Chief Executive Simon Hamilton said:

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