Ashers Baking Company to close Belfast store

Ashers Baking Company has confirmed that its Belfast store is to close at the end of this month.

General manager Daniel McArthur said sales have dropped by 50 per cent since the blaze at the nearby Primark store and subsequent street closures, which have dramatically reduced footfall in the area.

The Ashers Baking Company shop in Belfast.

The Ashers Baking Company shop in Belfast.

"We have been open five years and it wasn't an easy decision to make, but it is a business decision and it wouldn't make any business sense to keep the place open," he said.

Mr McArthur said there will be no redundancies and all staff at the Belfast store will be offered the opportunity to relocate to one of Ashers' other seven outlets.

Mr McArthur said that the decision to close the shop had nothing to do with the so-called 'gay cake' court battle, stressing that the decision not to renew the lease on the Belfast unit had been taken before a date was set for the UK Supreme Court's judgement in the case. • Read related story - Supreme Court victory for Christian bakers

He added that the company hasn't ruled out the possibility of opening a store at another location in or around the city.