Jobs at risk at retail outlet

Tough times: Furniture and electrical retailer Harvey Norman has confirmed that a number of jobs could go at its Newtownabbey store on Church Road. INNT 29-052-FP
Tough times: Furniture and electrical retailer Harvey Norman has confirmed that a number of jobs could go at its Newtownabbey store on Church Road. INNT 29-052-FP

FURNITURE and electrical retailer Harvey Norman has confirmed that a number of jobs could be lost at its Newtownabbey store as it moves ahead with plans to “re-format” its Northern Ireland outlets.

After recording losses of more than 23 million euro in 2011, Harvey Norman Ireland this week announced a series of measures aimed at increasing growth and contracting losses.

The firm’s stores in Newtownabbey and Holywood currently sell furniture, bedding, homewares, consumer electronics, computing, home appliances, communications and photography products and services. However, the company says it now plans to focus on furniture and bedding here, “due to increased customer demand” - a move that could affect dozens of jobs at the two local sites.

The retailer’s latest moves to restructure the business will also involve the closure of its Mullingar store in the Irish Republic, the opening of a new furniture outlet in West Dublin and the roll-out of a new e-commerce division - Harvey Norman Online.

The company - Ireland’s second largest furniture retailer - confirmed that 40 jobs may be affected in Northern Ireland, and that the statutory process of consulting with staff on potential job losses and alternatives to redundancy has already begun.

A spokesman for the company confirmed that there are currently 39 people employed at the Newtownabbey store on Church Road, but stressed that it is “too early in the process to know numbers for any potential redundancies”.

It is understood the “re-formatting” move means that the Newtownabbey and Holywood stores will no longer sell electrical goods. However, photo printing services still remain part of the mix currently.

Read the full story in this week’s Times...