By Stephen McVey

S outh Belfast’s fragile retail sector could be in for another blow if a flagship furniture store is forced to close its doors, it has been claimed. Fultons Fine Furnishings has gone into administration, with 100 jobs at risk between the 60,000 sq foot Boucher store and an outlet in Lurgan.

Glyn Roberts of the NI Independent Retail Trade Association said the closure of the store would be a “big loss” for South Belfast, where retailers are struggling with recession.

“Sadly it looks likely that Fultons will be joining the ever growing list of retailers having to close their doors as a result of this recession and changing shopping patterns,” he said.

“Every retailer who closes is a loss to surrounding retailers’ footfall in retail parks and town centres. In 2011 over a thousand independent traders in Northern Ireland closed and we are worried that this trend could double in 2012.

“The non-food retail sector is experiencing the worst of the recession as people don’t have the same disposable income and those who do are putting off buying non essential major household furniture.

“With Ikea and the UK Supermarkets taking a large part of this market it is putting immense pressure on furniture retailers like Fultons.”

PWC has been appointed to the administration process and Stephen Cave from the Business Recovery Services department said: “The general downturn in trading conditions, coupled with significant pressures in the commercial property sector, resulted in deterioration in financial performance,” he said.

“Continued financial pressures have led to these appointments, and we have begun an immediate assessment of the trading and financial position of the various businesses,” he said.

No-one from Fulton’s Fine Furnishings was available for comment.

 

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