Belfast Telegraph

Harry Corry store sales hit hard as Boucher Road entrance is blocked off

Exclusive: Boucher Road boss blames B&Q’s closure for problems

By John Mulgrew

Harry Corry has said sales at its Boucher Road store have plummeted by a third after the closure of the neighbouring B&Q store left restricted access to the business.

Boss Willie Corry said footfall is down 40% after access to the main entrance at the retail site was blocked off close to B&Q, following its closure last year.

And reducing the access into the site has led to a huge fall in sales, according to Mr Corry.

He now wants improved access to the area to ensure his business, and others, see a return to previous shopper numbers.

Last year, Harry Corry had to enter into an agreement to pay part of its debts to creditors.

“Our footfall is down 40% and sales are down about a third,” Mr Corry said. He said the area must be opened up to allow a return to footfall levels or a business should take over the site.

“I think what happened was, when they had the entrance, there may have been joyriders. Some security firm was put in after that,” he said.

“The next thing is there are big boulders. No one told us anything.

“People aren’t bothering as much. But when people do (visit the store), they are more likely to buy.”

Harry Corry operates 50 stores across the UK and Ireland, with 17 in Northern Ireland, 22 in the Republic and a further 11 in Scotland.

There are now plans to alter the road structure to allow greater traffic to Harry Corry and Benson for Beds. In a design statement by Braniff Associates, it says: “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.”

In December, Mr Corry said he was “hopeful” his company would stem growing losses and return to profit in 2016.

While turnover remained roughly the same during its last set of accounts — sitting at £38m — the business’s losses increased to £630,000.

Speaking about the turnaround in the business, Mr Corry said the CVA — which is an agreement with creditors which includes a reduction in rent — had helped the business.

“It’s been a big help in the south where rents were way of out of line. But generally there has been a small increase everywhere — we will be in profit,” he said.

Belfast Telegraph

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