It’s been reported that Austin’s - the oldest independent department store in the world - closed its doors on Tuesday morning, March 8.
DUP MLA Gary Middleton tweeted: “I have been informed that Austin’s in Londonderry has closed its doors today after a meeting with staff this morning. A blow to the city.”
Londonderry Chamber of Commerce chief executive Sinead McLaughlin added: “It is terribly sad news that Austins has closed its doors. We will all wish that action can be taken to save a business that is an icon for Derry. We wish everyone involved in the store well and we know how committed Austins’ staff are to the business.
“Traditional department stores have had difficulty in surviving. This is not unique to Austins or to Derry. Department stores have been closing right across Great Britain and Ireland. It is a sector that has struggled to survive modern retailing trends.
“That said, the difficulties faced by Austins underline the need for greater action to be taken by our politicians and other policy makers to protect and nurture our city centres. The city centre is the hub of our retailing sector, but it is also much more important than that. It is both an economic and social centre for our society. Action is therefore essential to ensure that it survives and thrives, despite modern retailing challenges such as the internet and out of town shopping centres.”
More to follow.