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'Lifeline' for SD Kells thanks to Ulster Bank Covid-19 crisis loan

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Package: Fashion retailer SD Kells

Package: Fashion retailer SD Kells

Package: Fashion retailer SD Kells

One of Northern Ireland's best-known fashion retailers, SD Kells, has safeguarded its future with a "significant" financial package from Ulster Bank.

The loan has been agreed with the bank through the UK Government backed Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).

The family-run retailer, which began as a draper's shop in Lisnaskea in 1928, operates 19 stores here, employing around 170 workers.

And the company said the new loan is a lifeline for the business and staff.

Managing director Ian Kells said: "Turnover has halted yet expenses carry on. This is the reality for our business and many others across Northern Ireland.

"By delivering this loan Ulster Bank has provided us with a vital lifeline that will protect the jobs of dedicated colleagues across all of our stores and plug the gap until it's safe to resume normal trading, whenever that may be.

"Every day presents a new challenge.

"These are difficult times for all businesses and unfortunately we've also had to respond to sudden unexpected events too."

Earlier this month the retailer's flagship premises on Bedford Street in Belfast city centre was targeted in a ram-raid burglary.

"We're committed to successfully navigating this crisis and Ulster Bank has delivered the resources to facilitate that," Mr Kells continued.

Nigel Walsh, director of corporate and commercial banking at Ulster Bank, said: "This family business has played a central role in the economic fabric of towns and cities across Northern Ireland for almost a century, and Ulster Bank is proud to have supported the business throughout that journey.

"There is an understandable sense of trepidation among business owners, but we're committed to serving the needs of local businesses of all sizes and across all sectors."

Belfast Telegraph