Home furnishings retailer Harry Corry has revealed that one of its headline Belfast stores has suffered a sharp decline in sales and footfall following the closure of B&Q.
The company, which has 50 stores across the UK and Ireland, said that its store on Boucher Road has experienced a drop in footfall by 40% after access to the retail site was blocked off near the old B&Q, premises when its closed last year.
Harry Corry said that due to the low footfall, sales have been impacted and are down a third at the branch and that action must take place to improve the site access to boost customer numbers.
Plans to alter the road structure to allow greater traffic have been submitted by Braniff Associates to the Belfast Council, although details regarding the vacant B&Q site pose a potential block.
Explained within the plans, a statement said: “B&Q have cited insurance reasons as the grounds upon which to close its main access off Balmoral Road.
“The applicant is led to understand that B&Q is tied in to another four years lease on this site unless it manages to sublet the property. Because the unit is so large and only appeals to particular operators there is a high likelihood that the site will remain vacant for several years at least.”
On conclusion, the application proposed that if the access remained closed it could prove detrimental to Harry Corry’s, as well as Bensons for Beds - who also operate on the site.
The report identified: “The reopening of the closed access is contingent upon the redevelopment or reoccupation of the vacant B&Q site and this may not happen for several years, during which time Harry Corrys and Bensons Beds will be forced to trade at an operational disadvantage to neighbouring businesses.”
The Belfast based business, which entered into a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) last year, reported pre-tax losses of over £628,000 in its latest financial report for the year ended 28 February 2015.