Eason to close all Northern Ireland stores with the loss of 144 jobs
Book and stationery retailer Eason has told employees it will not be reopening its stores in Northern Ireland.
Its seven shops in the region - employing 144 staff - have been closed since March 23 due to the coronavirus pandemic. All employees are currently furloughed.
The company said: "The announcement follows a detailed review of the stores in Northern Ireland in the context of the devastating impact of Covid-19 on current and future trade and the implications of a number of other significant factors on the future prospects and sustainability of the business in Northern Ireland."
The stores are located in Belfast; Lisburn; Newtownabbey; Bangor; Coleraine; Derry; and Enniskillen.
Eason said its business in the north "has remained challenged for some time". Revenues have fallen by over 30 per cent since 2016, with accumulated operating losses amounting to £1.8 million.
Last year, it said the business generated £12.5m in revenue, but ended up with a loss of over £300,000.
Glyn Roberts, chief executive of Retail NI, said it was sad news.
"Eason & Son was a household name and a hugely respected local business, and its closure is a loss to our retail sector.
"It's not just the loss of the business - it is the reduced footfall for the surrounding traders located beside its seven stores that we also have to factor in.
"Our retail sector and town centres face a long road back and we need the Executive to bring forward a big, bold recovery plan to help create 21st century high streets and to support and grow our local retail sector."