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Eason to close stores at Craigavon and Newry

Consultation with staff over possible relocations

Rushmere Shopping Centre, where Eason has been a long-standing tenant over the years.

It’s a sad day for book lovers as Eason has confirmed it is closing two stores.

The outlets – at Rushmere Shopping Centre in Craigavon and the Buttercrane in Newry – are both being axed.

Both have been trading for many years in the area.

As well as books, they stock a wide range of greetings cards and stationery, and a full selection of newspapers and magazines, among other things.

The Dublin-based company has confirmed that both outlets will be shutting down.

Eason – which marks 200 years since its foundation next year – has already closed a series of shops across Northern Ireland.

The outlet at the Meadows Shopping Centre was closed several years previous.

It is expected that every effort will be made to save jobs, with consultation with staff due to take place to explore the possibility of moves to other locations.

Eason at Rushmere will close in April, followed by the Buttercrane store in July.

It is understood that the move comes as the result of the company being unable to secure the renewal of leases for both outlets.

Newry and Armagh MLA Justin McNulty expressed his sadness at the news.

“These stores have been serving the community well for many years and it is sad to hear the news that they are to close later this year,” he said.

“The book market, just like retail in general, is rapidly changing and, as people move to e-books, audio books and indeed purchasing books online, retail giants like Easons are the casualty.

“It’s not just an empty shop that is left, there is the human story behind these store closures. Those who work in the stores face redeployment or redundancy.

“I hope the management can accommodate the employees in other stores as the Newry and Craigavon stores are closed down.”

Sinn Fein MLA Conor Murphy said the news was “a huge blow for the staff involved”.

“Eason’s in Craigavon will close in April and Eason in Newry will close in July 2018,” he said.

“The company has said  that it has commenced a consultation process with staff in both stores and state that it is fully committed to exploring all possible options for employees.

“It is essential that not only are staff kept fully informed of developments, but they are given any support and advice needed as they try to deal with the impact of the closure announcement.”

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