Relocation of Belfast furniture outlet 'big worry for city centre'
Family-run furniture firm Creations Interiors will relocate its Belfast city centre store next month.
The Bruce Street shop, home to Creations for around 20 years, is to move operations to its Boucher Crescent unit.
The three staff working at the store will also relocate. Stock is currently on sale as part of the retailer's spring discount event and steeper price cuts will be marked on products across all floors, including a 30% reduction on giftware.
The family business has been operating for 34 years and has two other sites: a flagship store on Boucher Crescent, which opened in 2016, and a store on Mill Street in Ballymena.
Creations is the second family-run furniture store to close in the city centre recently.
Rankin's, a 150-year-old interiors retailer, put its premises on the market last year when owner Robert Rankin retired.
The building is believed to have sold for over £1m.
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Glyn Roberts, chief executive of Retail NI, said the closure of Creations is a loss to the city and poses questions for Belfast City Council.
"It's sad to lose any retailer from the city centre as it will result in less footfall for retailers," he said.
"It's also disappointing that it's moving to Boucher Crescent. We have been getting concerns from retailers over Boucher Road.
"Rather than it being complementary to the city centre like the Lisburn, Ormeau and Belmont roads, it's become a competitor.
"I worry that it is taking a lot of shoppers away from the centre. Belfast City Council needs to look at that and ensure there is an even playing field in place."
Mr Roberts added rising parking costs in Belfast and high rates were damaging footfall.
"I'm beginning to get worried about the high cost of city centre parking," he said.
"There are sites charging almost extortionate prices and we need to look at how we get a better deal for consumers in the city centre for parking and, of course, business rates.
"The biggest problem is we've no Assembly in place and no one there is willing to take this on."