| 23°C Belfast

Tesco announces Belfast Metro store to close

Close

Tesco Metro on Royal Avenue, which will close within the next 12 months. Credit: Liam McBurney/RAZORPIX

Tesco Metro on Royal Avenue, which will close within the next 12 months. Credit: Liam McBurney/RAZORPIX

Liam McBurney/RAZORPIX

Tesco Metro on Royal Avenue, which will close within the next 12 months. Credit: Liam McBurney/RAZORPIX

Tesco has announced it is to close its Metro store on Belfast's Royal Avenue within the next year.

The store first opened in 1996 and is one of 10 Tesco locations in Belfast.

A Tesco spokesperson said they have taken the "difficult decision" to shut their doors on Royal Avenue in the next 12 months "as our lease comes to an end".

"Unfortunately we have been unable to find a route to long-term viability for the store, which as you may be aware was also heavily impacted by the Primark fire - while this didn't help, the decision to close is not specifically related to this," they said.

"I want to reassure you that this is an isolated decision and we will continue to serve customers from our nine other stores in Belfast."

Back in 2018, the store was forced to close due to the devastating Primark fire. It remained shuttered for almost nine months before reopening in May of last year.

"Our priority now is to support our colleagues and work with those who wish to find an alternative role in one of our other Belfast stores," the spokesperson added.

"As well as our existing Belfast stores, we have also secured a new site for a Tesco Express in Belfast City Centre to help us continue to serve our customers."

The spokesperson added that Tesco "remains committed to investing in Northern Ireland" and supporting the region's food and drink industry.

Belfast's deputy mayor Paul McCusker said the news was "another blow" for the city centre and it is vital jobs are safeguarded.

"This is a very popular store in Belfast city centre in an iconic building," he added.

"We need to ensure that all the staff working here will have their jobs protected.

"I will be writing to the minister for the Department of Economy and Belfast City Council economic development unit following this terrible news."

Belfast Chamber chief executive Simon Hamilton said action is needed from the Executive to prevent further losses on the high street.

"Belfast Chamber will continue to work with the likes of Belfast City Council and our other city partners to rejuvenate and regenerate our city centre, but this should send a clear signal to the NI Executive that it needs to take this threat to the future success of our high streets more seriously," he said.

"Belfast Chamber calls on ministers to work closely with stakeholders like ourselves to form a task force that focuses on how we can breathe renewed life back into our city and town centres and coordinates work across government towards that important aim.

"Belfast Chamber also calls on the Executive to put in place further financial support aimed at facilitating the safe reopening of our city and town centres. Ensuring that our high streets are clean, safe and welcoming environments at this difficult time will be key to boosting footfall and improving trade.

"We cannot allow our city and town centres to continue to absorb blows like this without fighting back. Belfast Chamber stands ready to work with the Executive and others to build back our city and high streets across the region."

Belfast Telegraph