The owner of Supervalu on Newry Street and Centra on the Lurgan Road has spoken of his fears for Banbridge town centre after his businesses entered administration.
Frank McPolin spoke out about the struggles businesses in the town centre face, particularly since Tesco opened a store at the Outlet, which he says has drawn people away from the town centre.
He said: “Tesco already have a big store in the town. What was the need for a second store at the Outlet? That has taken footfall away from the town centre and our turnover has dropped by 30 per cent since it’s arrival. Its madness.
Mr McPolin hit out at the treatment of town centre businesses.
He said: “I am disgusted by the council approach. The rates people have no clue about the pressures businesses are facing. They put the rates up by 30 per cent. £135,000 a year is a ridiculous price to pay.
“Something needs to be done. We make 11,000 transactions a week. Without us that’s 11,000 people gone from the town centre each week. A change of approach is needed for the town centre or it has no future. The council bowed down to the multi-nationals.
“We have seen the town centres of Lurgan, Portadown and Ballymena decimated by the big companies so why did they think Banbridge would be any different?”
Glynn Roberts, Chief Executive of Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association, said: “It is very disappointing news but in a sense its not surprising. The council were warned this would happen if Tesco was given the go ahead.
“Lessons need to be learned and I hope a buyer can be found for the business as it is a fantastic town centre.”