Zara 'excited' to reopen city-centre store following Primark fire
High street favourite Zara has revealed it will reopen its Belfast store next week.
The firm announced yesterday that it will resume trading at its Donegall Place premises on April 4 - more than seven months after a massive blaze at nearby Primark, which tore the heart out of Belfast city centre.
"We are really excited to be reopening our store in Belfast," the Zara spokesperson said.
A number of retailers located inside the safety cordon have been unable to operate since the fire in late August.
However, the cordon was reduced yesterday, allowing shoppers to walk between Donegall Place and Fountain Street along Castle Street, meaning that affected retailers can begin the process of returning to their stores.
The popular Abacus Beads has opened its doors again, although a question mark remains over the neighbouring City Picnic.
Shoppers and retailers were devastated by the fire as a large number of stores were forced to close their doors amid concerns over the structure in the wake of the fire.
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In the days after the blaze, businesses, including Argento, Aldo shoe store and McDonald's, found themselves inside the safety cordon.
The businesses affected by the Primark fire were subsequently told they could claim up to £19,000 to offset the effects of the cordon.
The money came from a £500,000 donation from Primark, which was handed out by Belfast City Council.
More than 80 other shops in streets around the zone were able to each claim £5,000.
Larger chain stores, such as Tesco and Zara, or multiple location franchisees, were not eligible for the cash.
Efforts were also put in place to help shoppers navigate their way around the city in the wake of the fire.
Large yellow dots were painted on streets around the city centre in a bid to encourage and direct footfall following the fire.
Details of the trail and a list of shops which remain open or are closed were also included on new signs erected around the city centre.
In December, Primark opened a new store.
Such was the anticipation over the opening that crowd control measures, including crush barriers, were put in place.