Call for independent retailers’ week

Derry City Council will host a week-long series of events designed to support local independent retailers.

The move comes after a proposal from SDLP councillor Eamon McCauley at the monthly meeting of Derry City Council in Magee on Tuesday.

Councillor McCauley called on officers from the City Council’s economic development department to work in partnership with the City Centre Initiative, and the Northern Ireland Retail Trade Association (NIRTA) to set up the programme to assist independent traders. The SDLP councillor said that a recent deputation from NIRTA to Derry City Council highlighted the position of independent retailers in the city centre and prompted his proposal.

‘Under threat’

At the NIRTA briefing, representatives of local retailers voiced concerns that the future of independent retailers is under threat from proposed out-of-town shopping developments.

Councillor McCauley’s proposal for an independent retail week was seconded by SDLP Councillor Jimmy Carr and was supported by all councillors present.

A similar initiative was pioneered in Belfast last year to promote small independent traders who have raised concerns that they are being squeezed out of the retail sector by large multiples and out-of-town shopping centres. A number of events were held in the city throughout the week aimed at promoting local produce and protecting local retail jobs.