Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Northern Ireland To Let

Lisney have reported that almost one in five commercial properties in Northern Ireland is vacant. This is almost twice the average across the entirety of the United Kingdom. The general economic malaise is clearly a major contributing factor, but maybe, just maybe it is not the sole factor.

Every time a new out of town shopping centre is opened or expanded the media tell us that this or that supermarket or store is creating "x" new jobs. Usually one of our councillors or members of the Assembly jumps up to add his or her congratulations. 

New jobs these may be, but are they additional jobs? What happens when a new Tesco or Sainsbury opens? Do we all start eating more food? Despite the obesity problem I would suggest that the answer is no. For these stores to be successful they have to take business from existing smaller and for the most part locally owned shops. These shops won't close overnight. The owners will try to keep going. They will hope that their customers will remain loyal, but a lot of  these customers will be lured by the slick advertising of the multi nationals and the acres of free parking. Takings will reduce, employees will be, "let go," bank support will be withdrawn and these small local businesses will eventually close. The net result is probably a decline in employment and the profits of Mr Tesco and Mr Sainsbury will not be spent in other businesses in the locality.

Out of town shopping facilities may be convenient but they suck business away from our town centres and from the local economy. This may be, just may be a contributing factor to the increase in commercial property, "To Let," signs.

No comments:

Post a Comment