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End of an era as historic furniture store closes its doors

An historic Belfast furniture store has become the latest victim of the housing slump.

Family firm Ideas in Furniture on the Lisburn Road will cease trading at the end of April after operating for almost 70 years.

The company has launched an 'End of an Era' sale event in the store until then. Managing director James Cairns said that the decision was inevitable in current trading conditions as consumers are forced to prioritise their spending.

"Added to that is the fact that there are much fewer new homes being built," he said.

Joseph Cairns opened his first store on Sandy Row in 1945, and within five years, he had added new outlets in the city on York Street, Shankill Road, Albertbridge Road and also Portadown.

Growth continued apace in the '60s during which time Joseph also served as Lord Mayor of Belfast and received a knighthood.

His son Stanley Cairns joined the family business in 1969 and helped drive further expansion including the development of the iconic Bel-One superstores in Glengormley, Bangor and Lisburn Road.

Bel-One was rebranded as Ideas in Furniture in the '90s and with the untimely death of Stanley Cairns in 2011, his son James became the third generation of the family to head the business.

Belfast Telegraph