Book and stationery retailer Eason has told its 144 employees in Northern Ireland that it will not be reopening its seven shops in the region. Since March 23, all Eason shops in the North have been closed due to the coronavirus pandemic and all the employees are currently furloughed under the British government scheme. The company said: “The announcement follows a detailed review of the stores in Northern Ireland in the context of the devastating impact of Covid-19 on current and future trade, and the implications of a number of other significant factors on the future prospects and sustainability of the business in Northern Ireland.” The stores are located in Belfast, Lisburn, Newtownabbey, Bangor, Coleraine, Derry and Enniskillen. Eason has struggled in the North for some time. Revenues have fallen by over 30% since 2016, with accumulated operating losses amounting to £1.8m.
Last year, it said the business generated £12.5m in revenue, but ended up with a loss of over £300,000. Glyn Roberts, chief executive of Retail NI, said it was sad news: “Eason & Son was a household name and a hugely respected local business. It’s not just the loss of the business – it is the reduced footfall for the surrounding traders located beside its seven stores that we also have to factor in.”