Belfast Telegraph

CastleCourt's Jacamo store at risk due to closure plan

N Brown owns Jacamo and Simply Be (Nick Ansell/PA)
N Brown owns Jacamo and Simply Be (Nick Ansell/PA)

By Margaret Canning and PA

The future of a key unit in Belfast city centre's CastleCourt Shopping Centre is in doubt after retailer N Brown announced it is likely to close 20 stores.

N Brown operates the Simply Be and Jacamo store in a corner, street-facing ground-floor unit in CastleCourt.

N Brown is the latest retailer to announce closures on the high street, following hot on the heels of House of Fraser, which is closing 31 of its 59 department stores.

A spokeswoman for N Brown said last night: "All 20 of N Brown's stores are under consultation to be closed. This includes the Simply Be/Jacamo store in Belfast."

The group, which also owns JD Williams, entered into a consultation with staff yesterday, saying that weak footfall on the high street meant it had to close stores.

The consultation concerns 12 dual-brand Simply Be and Jacamo outlets, as well as eight High and Mighty stores.

The company expects to incur a one-off cash cost of between £18m and £22m if it closes all 20 stores.

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The outlets affected will be shut ahead of their lease expiry date and bring in around 2% of N Brown's revenues, generating £15m in the 2018 financial year.

Angela Spindler, N Brown's chief executive, said yesterday: "In line with our online strategy, and given continued weak high street footfall, we have today commenced a consultation process with colleagues over the future of our small store estate.

"This action has not been taken lightly and we will do all we can to support the colleagues affected during this process," she added.

For the 13 weeks to June 2, N Brown's revenue from its retail brands fell 2.8%.

While House of Fraser last week announced it was shutting more than half its stores, its Belfast unit - the anchor tenant of Victoria Square Shopping Centre - is remaining open.

Belfast Telegraph