French Connection has shut down all its concessions in Northern Ireland in an attempt to get back to the green. Commenting the chain’s first-half results, chief executive Stephen Marks revealed that other so called 'zombie outlets' were spared to avoid incurring in further costs.
The Northern Ireland stores were run on a franchise model by Julian Jordan as the brand was present in the region through concessions in shopping centres. As a spokesman for French Connection confirmed earlier this week to local media, they had all been closed.
The once beloved fashion chain closed its last Northern Ireland standalone shop in Belfast's Cornmarket in July. French Connection has currently 74 stores across the UK and Europe.
Like-for-like sales in the UK and European markets have declined by 4.5 percent in the six months to the end of July, dragging pre-tax losses to narrow from 6.3 million pounds to 6.1 million.
Colin Mathewson from Osborne King pointed out to the rates as the main factor to blame for the high number of vacant shops. "The biggest thing is that the cost of rates is probably one of if not the biggest stumbling block to leasing retail units at the moment," he said to the ‘Belfast Telegraph’.