Next has said it took the decision to close its Lisburn Square store as the lease on the unit was ending and it wants to focus efforts on its two outlets at Sprucefield.
The leading fashion and homewares retailer confirmed that there were no compulsory redundancies when it shut up shop last month, with the majority of the 12 staff being transferred to other stores, including those at Sprucefield, Forestside and Boucher Road.
Two members of staff opted to take redundancy, a Next spokesperson confirmed.
The spokesperson said the firm elected not to renew its lease at Lisburn Square and to focus its efforts on its ‘multiproduct’ and ‘home’ stores at Sprucefield.
Describing the closure of the Lisburn Square outlet as “very disappointing”, Lagan Valley MLA Robbie Butler said city centre traders are facing “many burdens”, including high rents and rates, and the growth of online shopping.
“Next have been a significant and valued retailer in Lisburn for many years, with the original store located in Bow Street. Whilst I understand staff have been relocated or given voluntary redundancy this is a further blow to achieving footfall and spending levels for town centre traders to keep business viable,” the UUP man said, adding that more needs to be done to support traders and encourage people to “shop local”.
Evan Morton, president of Lisburn Chamber of Commerce, added: “It is disappointing that Next has closed their store at Lisburn Square to concentrate their efforts at their outlets at Sprucefield.
“It is some comfort that there have been no job losses and we hope a new tenant can be found in the near future for the vacant unit.”