Northern Ireland Primark stores prepare to reopen

Primark has said it is gearing up to reopen its Northern Ireland stores, ahead of an expected green light later this week.

fter reopening stores across England on Monday the clothing and homeware retailer is preparing to do the same here.

A company spokesperson said Primark was “really looking forward to welcoming our customers back to our stores in Northern Ireland”.

It comes ahead of an Executive meeting on Thursday, with ministers expected to give the go-ahead for non-essential retail to reopen from May 26.

The region’s nine Primark stores have been closed since a harsh lockdown was imposed from Boxing Day last year.

“Safety remains our top priority so that employees and customers can return to Primark with confidence,” a Primark spokesperson said.

“Primark will continue to have extensive safety measures in place across all stores for re-opening, including a strict social distancing protocol, limits on the number of customers allowed in store, requiring the use of face coverings in-store, hand sanitisation stations at store entrances, Perspex screens and cubicles at till points and increased in-store cleaning.”

When the stores reopened following previous lockdowns customers formed massive queues outside the retailers’ various locations.

Shoppers outside Primark’s Castle Street store in Belfast had queued from 5.30am when restrictions lifted in June.

The outlet in Newtownabbey’s Abbey Centre opened for 33 hours in December as customers flocked to do their Christmas shopping.

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Early-morning shoppers at Primark in Birmingham (Jacob King/PA)

As 161 stores reopened in England this week shoppers began queuing at 7am at Primark shops in London’s Oxford Street and Birmingham.

The stores have extended opening hours to 7am to 10pm in an attempt to curb crowding.

Primark’s popularity in Northern Ireland was evident following the fire that destroyed its flagship Belfast city centre store in August 2018.

Shoppers expressed this dismay in the wake of the blaze at the historic Bank Buildings.

Rebuilding efforts at the site were initially delayed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, but work has now recommenced.

A replacement store opened in Donegall Place in 2019.

Belfast Telegraph

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