Northern Ireland

Dunnes Stores Connswater closure 'threat to shopping centre'

Dunnes closure notice Image copyright Glyn Roberts
Image caption Customers were informed that the Dunnes outlet in Connswater Shopping Centre is closing

The long-term viability of Connswater Shopping Centre is in doubt following the closure of the Dunnes Stores outlet there, a retail body has warned.

Glyn Roberts of the Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association said it was "terrible news for the staff at the store and for Connswater Shopping Centre as a whole".

A spokesman for the east Belfast shopping centre said it "continues to trade as normal and our retail and food offers remain very strong, despite this apparent closure".

Last month, Tesco announced it was closing its Connswater shop, which employs 92 people.

Mr Roberts said: "With Tesco closing its store, the centre will soon have lost both its anchor stores which puts its long-term viability at risk.

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Media captionGlyn Roberts of the Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association said it was a sad loss for the centre

"Unless these two stores can be replaced, Connswater faces likely closure."

However, a Connswater spokesman said: "We have a number of positive developments to bring forward in the coming months and we actually see new opportunities ahead.

"We have no doubts about Connswater's future growth and we would like to reassure our customers and staff in that regard."

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