By Ursula Duddy
A charity shop in Derry will close later this month as they have not been able to bring in enough money, it has emerged.
The British Heart Foundation shop on Ferryquay Street has been open in the city for five years; however, it has become unsustainable as there is just not enough money coming through the doors to justify paying the lease on the unit.
The news comes after it emerged last week that a family run own business on the same street, Gormley Shoes, is to close its Derry store at the end of this month after 45 years of trading.
Speaking to the Derry News, Maureen McElhatton, Derry Area Manager with the British Heart Foundation (BHF), said that it would no longer be renewing its lease after September 16 as the shop is ‘no longer profitable’.
“I can confirm that the Londonderry BHF shop will unfortunately be closing on September 16,” she said.
“The team have done a fantastic job in the area over the past five years but, unfortunately, the shop is no longer profitable enough to warrant renewing our lease, which is coming to an end.”
She continued the decision to close the store ‘had not been taken lightly’.
“We completely rely on the support of the local community to generate funds for life saving heart research and our volunteers are invaluable in keeping our shops running. We could not do it without them and I’d like to say a big thank you to them on behalf of the BHF.
“Each year, BHF shops raise around £30 million to help the BHF fight coronary heart disease.
“The decision to close the Londonderry BHF shop has not been taken lightly and we must continue to ensure that our shops generate as much money as possible to continue the fight for every heartbeat.”
Glyn Roberts of Retail NI (formerly Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association) said that the news was a ‘very worrying indicator’ into the ‘ongoing decline’ of the city centre.
“This is a very indicator, especially when you take into consideration the fact that charity shops don’t pay rates,” he said.
“I think that this ongoing decline is something that Derry City and Strabane District Council need to sit up and treat with the seriousness it deserves, but unfortunately the council is still issuing approval to out of town retail units, which we witnessed just a few days ago in relation to the Crescent Link.”
Mr Roberts added: “I also think that it’s an issue that needs to be dealt with at Stormont level, but it doesn’t seem that the political will to tackle this issue even exists at a local level.”
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