Retail NI has welcomed this morning’s decision of Belfast City Council’s Strategic Policy and Resources Committee to vote against proposals to extend Sunday trading hours. The Committee voted by 16-4 against extending Sunday trading - a bigger majority than last year’s vote.

Retail NI repeated its call for a new broader strategy for developing the weekend economy of the city with key strategic partners.

Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:

“This was the right decision by Belfast City Councillors”

Retail NI has described has expressed concern with nearly 40,000 car parking and bus lanes fines issued in the first quarter of 2018

The Department for Infrastructure published the figures today.

Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:

”These statistics continue to show we have a major problem to address”

“Nearly 40,000 parking and bus lane fines handed out to motorists in our town and city centres is having a clear and negative impact on shoppers and our members”

Commenting on the High Court ruling to block planning permission for the Mallusk incinerator, Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:

“This ruling could have far reaching implications for the planning system in Northern Ireland not least for the long-awaited North-South Electricity Interconnector”

“It could also result in delays in large-scale planning applications currently being processed by the Department for Infrastructure”

In a Summit meeting yesterday with Belfast City Council, Belfast Chamber of Commerce, USDAW and other key stakeholders, Retail NI outlined a compromise option to the on-going dispute over extending Sunday Trading hours for large retailers in Belfast.

Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:

“At the Summit we outlined a proposal for a Small Shop Sunday campaign, which will promote and encourage shoppers and tourists to support the city’s smaller retailers on a Sunday morning between 11am-1pm. Large retailers would continue to trade from 1pm onwards”

Belfast’s hospitality, retail and hotel sectors have come together to extend a joint welcome to the 5,000 delegates from the Royal College of Nursing who will be attending their annual congress at Belfast Waterfront, starting this Saturday.  

A delegation from Retail NI met with the Department for Infrastructure’s Permanent Secretary Peter May and senior officials this morning on problems with Car Parking and to voice concerns with the 150,000 car parking fines being issued last year.

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

 “This was a positive and productive meeting with Peter and his team”

Colin Neill of Hospitality Ulster, EU Brexit Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier, Glyn Roberts of Retail NI & Stephen Kelly of Manufacturing NI

The Chief Executives of Manufacturing NI, Retail NI and Hospitality Ulster, met the EU Brexit Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier in Newry this afternoon.

In a joint statement Stephen Kelly, Glyn Roberts and Colin Neill said:

“We greatly welcome this opportunity to meet with Michel Barnier to discuss the concerns of our three sectors”

Land & Property Services (LPS), part of the Department of Finance, is contacting business ratepayers to collect rental data for the non-domestic rates revaluation – Reval2020.

Business ratepayers and their advisors in Northern Ireland are obliged to provide rental evidence to LPS with a view to preparing a new Valuation List for use from April 2020.

Shopworkers’ trade union Usdaw has joined with the independent retailers’ organisation Retail NI in sending an open to letter to Belfast City Councillors calling on them to step back from a proposal to extend Sunday trading hours. The two organisations are instead again suggesting a summit of all stakeholders to take a proper look at what Belfast offers to residents, visitors and tourists over the whole weekend.

Commenting on the closure of five Carpetright Stores in Belfast, Derry, Ballymena, Coleraine and Bangor, Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said:

“The closure of these five stores is another sad loss to our retail sector. Our thoughts are with the staff who are losing their jobs and we hope they will be successful in finding employment elsewhere in the retail sector”

“We hope that Carpetright’s restructuring plan is successful in saving the overall business”