Primark will reopen in Belfast city centre tomorrow at 9am, with security measures being put in place to deal with predicted large numbers of bargain-hunting shoppers.
The store will open its doors for the first time in more than three months in Commonwealth House – the newer part of the premises behind Bank Buildings which escaped significant damage during the devastating blaze on August 28.
NI Retail Consortium director Aodhán Connolly said this has been “a great week” for city centre businesses.
Firstly, he said there was the reopening of the city centre’s main thoroughfare, using shipping containers to create a pathway through the cordoned off zone, and now there is the “huge footfall draw” of Primark’s opening.
Also welcoming the reopening of the popular store at Castle Street, shopworkers’ trade union Usdaw said around half the staff are returning to the city centre site, with the remaining staff guaranteed to be paid for their contractual hours until at least April next year.
Michala Lafferty, Usdaw area organiser, said: “This has clearly been a very traumatic and difficult time for Primark staff. Usdaw has been supporting our members and reps affected by the fire throughout, working closely with the company to get the best possible deal for them.
“So tomorrow is big step forward in trying to return to normality, although that is still a very long way off if it is even possible. There are still many issues to be sorted and we will continue to ensure that those not returning tomorrow are looked after.
“We wish the staff well as the doors reopen for the first time tomorrow and I’m sure the shopping public of Belfast will give them a warm welcome back.”
Yesterday, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Karen Bradley MP, met with senior management of Primark in Belfast city centre ahead of the store’s official reopening.
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