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Difficult times for traders directly affected by Primark fire

The fact that Primark has provided some reassurance to its staff regarding jobs and wages following last week's devastating fire, must be welcomed.

The retailer is hoping to be trading again in the city as soon as possible and is exploring a number of options.

While this is a positive commitment from the firm, unfortunately there was difficult news for a number of businesses in the immediate vicinity of the gutted Bank Buildings.

They have been told a safety exclusion zone is likely to be in place for at least four months, which will include the crucial Christmas shopping period.

Some of those affected are independent traders who have built up a loyal following in the city centre but have suffered substantial losses in the days since the blaze.

Belfast City Council will be working to find alternative premises for businesses but there is no doubt the impact of the fire will be far-reaching and extremely challenging.

It is important these firms get up and running again as soon as possible and customers show their support for shops and restaurants trying to deal with circumstances beyond their control.

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