Eason’s has announced that 16 jobs will be affected by the closure of its store in Ballymena’s Fairhill shopping centre in a further blow to the town’s retail sector.
In a statement, the firm said that it had had “no option but to close the store” after negotiations with the landlord over the lease fell through.
An Eason’s spokesperson commented: “Following the expiry of the lease on our store in Fairhill, we regrettably advised colleagues at a meeting this morning of our decision to close the store at the end of February. Whilst we have been in negotiations with the landlord for the last number of months, unfortunately we have been unable to reach a viable agreement on the terms of a new lease and therefore have no option but to close the store.
“We are commencing a consultation process with all staff and will endeavour to ensure that they are supported throughout this time.
“We’re also fully committed to exploring all possible options to facilitate the transfer of employees to other stores in our Northern Ireland network, where possible.
“The decision to close the Fairhill store was a commercial one and Eason remains fully committed to the ongoing operation and development of its wider Northern Ireland retail estate.”
Eason’s was originally located in the Tower Centre before moving to the Fairhill Shopping centre in the town.
TUV representative Timothy Gaston said he was “disappointed” at the news.
UUP Councillor Stephen Nicholl said it was “devastating news given the store’s popularity.”
There are nine other Eason’s book shops in Northern Ireland.