I have been officially notified this morning that the Tesco store on Church Street in Ballymena and two other stores in Belfast are to close on 15 March. This will effect 16 employees.
I understand these closures are part of 43 closures being announced across the entire UK as a result of profit share loss in the companies annual returns.
Ballymena’s large flagship store at Ballykeel is “fine” according to Tesco whom I spoke with this morning. The closure of the express store is a blow to city trade in Ballymena town centre that is finding it increasingly difficult to attract new businesses and keep the town centre thriving. I am calling on civic and business leaders to meet with me and discuss ways to improve the offering that Ballymena can boast. Obviously anything that potentially damages the town centre must be avoided and anything that promotes it must be encouraged.
I understand that the 16 employees in Ballymena will be offered the opportunity to re-deploy across the company.