Belfast is starting to buzz again as leading names in retail are making their way back into the city centre.
US clothing giant Gap leads the way with the opening of a new 8,550 square feet flagship store at 20 Donegall Place, relocating from Castle Court, a positive sign for retail in Northern Ireland.
DW sports will locate on to Royal Avenue and Sketchers are also set to open a flagship store in this prime retail area of the city centre.
The resurgence of this area in recent times has been attributed to a number of factors but it is mainly the rates revaluation completed in 2014.
Belfast Chamber of Trade & Commerce president, Hugh Black has welcomed this resurgence of Belfast’s retail core, which is attracting such a high calibre of clientele.
Speaking at the opening event he said: “I am delighted to be part of the celebrations today at the Gap opening and to see flagship store take centre stage in Belfast’s retail core.
“This is an exciting time for retail in the city centre and we are delighted to welcome back leading names into the heart of the city.
“We hope other businesses, both start-up and established, will follow their example and invest back into Belfast which will have a ripple effect across the whole country.
“Belfast currently has an 18 % vacancy rate and we plan to continue to tackle this issue with planned meeting with ministers in the coming months.
Debbie Edwards, Vice President & General Manager of Gap Europe commented; “We are thrilled to be giving Belfast a new updated Gap Store. It’s an exciting time to be opening in Donegall Place, with a new lease of life being breathed into the area in 2015. Gap is proud to be part of the story in the revival of the centre’s renowned retail district.”
Situated within the City Centre conservation area Gap’s shopfront has been designed in partnership with the local planning and conservation office to provide a strong impactful retail presence on the street, while conserving and enhancing this historic building within the streetscape.
For further information on the work of Belfast Chamber of Trade & Commerce, please contact Martina Connelly on 028 9024 2111.
Picture caption one: Pictured at the opening of Gap are Director of Belfashio Week, Cathy Martin, alongside Hugh Black, Belfast Chamber of Trade & Commerce President.
Picture caption two: Pictured at the opening of Gap are part of the management team, Melanie Chesters and Sinead McCusker alongside Hugh Black, Belfast Chamber of Trade & Commerce President.
Picture three: Pictured at the opening of Gap are Debbie Edwards, Vice President & General Manager of Gap Europe, Sheila McCrae, Regional Director, Gap Europe with Hugh Black, President BCTC