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M&S decision to close Lisburn’s Bow Street Mall store described as a ‘blow’ to city centre

Pat Catney at the Bow Street Mall M&S foodstore Pat Catney at the Bow Street Mall M&S foodstore
By Ciara Quinn

SDLP MLA Pat Catney has said the loss of the M&S Simply Food store in Lisburn’s Bow Street Mall is “a blow” to the city centre, to staff and shoppers.
In a statement Marks and Spencer said it had opted not to renew its lease on the Simply Food store but that no jobs were at risk with staff having been advised that all existing employees at the Lisburn branch will be redeployed.
The closure of the food store, which has been open ten years and employs 40 staff, will further add to the many already shuttered and empty retail slots in the complex following the liquidation of its anchor tenant BHS.
“Any loss of business in Lisburn is a drain,” said Mr Catney. “Any business closure makes it more difficult for retailers to build their product up,” he said. “It’s the old saying – there’s no point going to market if there are only two stores in it. We need to be working to lift, build, Lisburn city centre up together.”
Mr Catney told Daily Belfast that the issue of paid city centre parking is taking a heavy toll as shoppers are choosing to travel and spend their money elsewhere.
“I personally don’t like the paid parking from a trading point of view, the parking attendants are very, very strict and I’m calling upon the city centre management from us as MLAs to really look at a strategy that will lift where we work in the city.”
Mr Catney described as “disappointing” the fact the Belfast Rapid Transit (BRT) scheme was not rolled out to Lisburn. “You have this Glider bus running from West to East in Belfast that could’ve pulled on out here. This is a commuter town, there are so many developments being built here with a lot more young people and families moving here so I would’ve liked to have seen that considered.
“I will be contacting Translink over the coming days to request that bus services to Sprucefield shopping centre are frequent enough for those consumers who previously used to shop at M&S in the town centre.”
The M&S Simply Food store is expected to close its doors in the autumn.

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