Northern Ireland news

Majority of independent retailers in west Belfast expected to remain open today

While larger stores such as Asda at Kennedy Way in west Belfast will close for a time today during the Queen's funeral, it is expected that the majority of smaller businesses in the area will remain open
Marie Louise McConville

The majority of independent retailers in west Belfast are expected to remain open today while the Queen's funeral takes place.

While many other businesses around Northern Ireland have announced their decision to close, some for the full day and some for part of the day, it is believed that most of the smaller stores around Andersonstown and the Falls Road will remain open.

Larger stores such as Asda, which has a location at Kennedy Way, has already said it will close until 5pm while Argos and Sainsburys, which are based at Kennedy Centre on the Falls Road, will close for the day though its convenience stores will open from 5pm-10pm "to allow our customers to pick up essential items".

Lidl, which has a number of locations around west Belfast, will also close as will Holland & Barrett, Semichem and Poundland.

However, many independent retailers in the area, including coffee shops, garden centres and convenience stores, will open as usual.

One business owner yesterday told The Irish News: "We open every bank holiday, Christmas being the exception.

"We wouldn’t be closing for any funeral other than family. Times are tough for everyone at the moment. We can't afford to lose business".

Foodstock on the Andersonstown Road, a community food bank and support service, will also remain open today.

Paul Doherty, who founded the service, said it is "essential" for them to remain open.

"For us to close today would mean people being impacted by the cost of living wouldn't get the help they need," he said.

"At the minute, we need to be there for people, we need to provide support and show solidarity.

"This morning, there will be children waking up to no breakfast and for us, we are hands on in the community to provide that support.

"For us it is essential that we stay open and are able to provide that".

Mr Doherty, who is the SDLP representative for west Belfast, said he believed the majority of businesses in the area would remain open.

"A lot of businesses are struggling with electricity bills and being impacted by this, it is essential that they do stay open," he said.

"I think generally across west Belfast, speaking to businesses, they need to stay open".

Meanwhile, in Derry, it's said to be a "mixed bag" in relation to businesses closing and those choosing to stay open with business owners reportedly being sensitive to the areas they are operating in.

In a Facebook post, Foyleside Shopping Centre in Derry said: "As stores within the centre have indicated their intention to close for the day Foyleside Shopping Centre will be closed on Monday 19th September and will reopen as normal on Tuesday 20th September at 9am".

Also posting on social media, Quayside Shopping Centre said it would have "reduced trading" today.

Northern Ireland news