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Centra's expansion took its toll I guess.

There was a larger unit under the new car park on fredrick street by the UU campus? I would guess that's being lined up for a larger format store.
 

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I'd say it was more down to the Primark fire and very few office workers returning to the city centre for the foreseeable future. Foot fall in Belfast must be down over 50%. I'm also curious if this business with China will hit rental demand for the new build student accommodation as I think that was their primary market.
 

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I'm wondering if the NolaClan group has gone bankrupt as House Belfast seems to have been left abandoned and their other bars and restaurants in Dublin remain closed
 

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Most I've experienced are friendly and courteous enough. There definitely where a few bars in Belfast (pre-covid) that thought you should be grateful for just being aloud to ask for a cocktail never mind paying over £10 for one. House was a prime example and during my experience the staff where not even wearing clean uniforms for what they considered to be an up market cocktail bar that was half empty during what should have been one of the busiest nights of the year for them. Beyond the Instagram posts I'm not surprised they weren't bringing any money in.
 

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In terms of the punters, oh yes indeed. Any hotel with a room for 24 people is going to attract a fairly lively clientele [or a very odd large family...].

In terms of the buildings [and the poor so and so's who invested]......
 

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I can't see any future for high street retail in its current form. Massive and proactive rethink needed along the lines of the Preston Model, or something that incentivises independent traders, rather than being in thrall to the highly leveraged 'pile it high, sell it cheap' merchants and equity houses. I don't know the answer, and I know there are rates to be paid/economic issues to be considered but the current model is unsustainable. More emphasis needs to be put on environmental and sustainability capital rather than naked bottom line.
 

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As long as internet shopping continues to be cheaper and easier, high street retail is doomed. Some sort of environmental cost is perhaps needed on all items puchased online, and a further cost levied on any items returned. To account for the deliveries? Perhaps some sort of point of manufacture tax might help- any goods imported to the country from beyond a certain distance should have a per km cost applied? Would benefit locally produced items and businesses perhaps?
 

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The government has done nothing to help retail. They shouldn’t have closed shops.
Maybe, although in the case Arcadia and Debenhams were on the ropes for a while - their competitors out competed. And what is a store like Debenhams doing with 5 locations in NI.

I'd say there is still a place for retail that is easier in person lrather than online like clothing, homeware, and some niche book and electrical stores (phones, apple etc) in urban centres, but that's a much smaller footprint than before.

But definitely true the retail led regeneration of the 90's and 00's is dead.

Interesting on the Preston model, I wasn't aware of that. I will read more.
 

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As an outsider, Belfast city centre's independent retail offering is extremely poor, at least compared to Dublin, Cork or Galway. Extortionate rents and high business rates are clearly one of the biggest issues in Belfast city centre, but the economic reality of being one of the poorest places in the United Kingdom is also a major factor. The political leaders in the North have consistently failed to address this over the last 20 years and another generation will be lost to poverty and economic inactivity.
 
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