Belfast city centre: Half of shops open on Twelfth

Orange men City centre trading hours will be adjusted to avoid the main Orange Order procession

Related Stories

About half of Belfast city centre's shops will trade on the Twelfth, but most have low expectations for business.

The city's stores have opened on the main marching day for the past four years.

In 2010, 80% of shops opened, but that number has fallen in reaction to customers staying away.

Victoria Square and Castlecourt are among retailers who will open their doors between noon and 17:00 BST.

Others include Marks and Spencer, Boots and TKMaxx.

Trading hours are adjusted to avoid the time when the main Orange Order procession passes through the city centre.

This is the first year that Twelfth opening falls on a Saturday, the best day of any given week for retailers.

'Worst trading'

But one source told the BBC that businesses do not have high hopes.

"Think of the worst trading Monday and divide it by three," they said.

Some stores needed "real convincing" to open at all, said another, because "it is the quietest day of the year".

Added to minimal takings is the fact some shops have increased wage costs for opening on a holiday.

City centre retailers and the Orange Order first joined together to launch Twelfth opening in 2009.

They hoped it would benefit the economy and attract visitors to 'Orangefest'.

But the "fear of unrest" and road closures to facilitate marching have discouraged shoppers, according to several retailers.

Some city centre pubs have decided not to open and one restaurant the BBC contacted on Thursday morning said they had reservations for 15 people on Saturday evening.

Normally they would expect to serve 200 customers.

More on This Story

Related Stories

More Northern Ireland stories


Features & Analysis

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • GeoguessrWhere in the world?

    Think you’re a geography expert? Test your knowledge with BBC Travel’s Geoguessr


  • Suspension bridge connecting mountain peaksThe Travel Show Watch

    Must-see global events including walking the first suspension bridge to connect mountain peaks

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.