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Primark opening hugely encouraging

THE OPENING of the Primark store in Belfast at the weekend can only be seen as hugely encouraging for businesses in the area. Those shops have been badly affected by the cordon which restricted city-centre trading in the aftermath of the catastrophic fire at the Bank Building shop in August.

On Saturday what was intended as an extension to the original shop was opened and many thousands have already taken the opportunity to revisit what has always been a popular and very successful destination.

Since that August 28 fire footfall in Belfast has suffered greatly so hopefully this opening will help reinvigorate the city centre businesses, not just Primark, which had seen a significant fall in trade. And of course some shops were unable to reopen until the area was deemed safe for the public and staff.

It remains to be determined just what caused the fire and whether the shop will be held accountable for the blaze. However it would be difficult to criticise company in its actions since the fire.

Primark have by all accounts been very supportive of staff, for instance those who had to relocate to other stores. It has also fulfilled promises to re-establish a city centre presence and to attempt to preserve the historic facade of the historic Bank Buildings.

There are encouraging signs that footfall has indeed picked up in Belfast. Hopefully that trend will continue well beyond the Christmas season which is so important to the viability of businesses.

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