Shutting up shop…retail sector still struggling

THE struggles facing the High Street in Enniskililen are increasingly evident in Enniskillen with a worrying amount of shops and other business premises lying vacant with shutters down. 
Belmore Street alone,  for example, has a total of ten vacant premises. Turn the corner to Forthill Street and there’s several more. A similar story unfolds along East Bridge Street and further into the town centre. 
In the Enniskillen area there are scores of empty commercial premises, some relatively recently vacated and others with windows boarded up for years. 
Niall Smyth from Smyth Leslie estate agents spoke about challenges in commercial property market. Although it is thought that rents here are considerably higher than many other provincial towns, Mr Smyth said high rates have a “serious impact” on the rental levels.
“Moves had been made to try and soften the rates burden, but it is still a serious problem. It is very difficult for businesses to operate properly with such a burden hanging over them, this too has an impact on rent. 
“Outgoings are one of the biggest issues for businesses within the town. To be able to operate a business in the town centre everything has to stack up.
“The other side of this is shopping trends have changed as well, there’s more done online. The town centre has made great attempts to reinvent itself. The core area of the town centre has become more of a social centre with more coffee shops.” 
Lisnaskea estate agent Gordon Robinson added, “Commercial property is slow all over. If you want a bit of commercial injection, it’s usually where the chimney pots are. In rural areas and small towns it’s quiet. Meanwhile, domestic and farm sales here are still strong.
“The house market has and continues to be buoyant. Lisnaskea spreads it’s wings out to Dernawilt and further to Derrylin, property here priced sensibly doesn’t sit long. The commercial market is a bit slower, but can still be sold. Preference for commercial property is at this stage to rent but there are some out there still looking to buy.” 

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The Fermanagh Herald is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
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