Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Easons: 30 years of trading comes to a close

The announcement that the Easons store in Newry’s Buttercrane Centre is to cease trading later this year has been described as a “huge blow”.

The Dublin-based company revealed plans to close its stores in Craigavon and Newry, where it has been among the city’s most recognised retail newsagents for almost 30 years.  Offering customers an extensive range of books, newspapers, magazines and cards, Easons has been an anchor tenant of the Buttercrane Centre since it first opened in November 1988.  The store will close for the final time in July.

Local politicians have expressed their dismay at the news.  SDLP MLA Justin McNulty says the shift to internet shopping and e-books has resulted in the closures.

“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.  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,” Mr McNulty said.

Voicing concern for the future of staff, he added: “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’s Conor Murphy says news of the closure would be a “huge blow” for staff, adding that they must receive all the support they require.

“[Easons] has said that it has commenced a consultation process with staff in both stores and states 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,” he said.