12 August, 2022 in Industry News

NI Business News Round-Up - Week ending 12th August

Our team has summarised the key developments for NI businesses in the news this week.

UK economy shrinks between April and June - The economy contracted by 0.1% in the second quarter of the year, the Office for National Statistics said.  That compares to the first three months of this year when gross domestic product (GDP) - which measures economic activity - grew.  The Bank of England has forecast the UK will fall into recession towards the end of this year and the downturn will last for the entirety of next year. (Source - BBC News)

Belfast’s Primark store is to reopen in time for Christmas, four years on from the devastating fire which saw the building gutted - The reopening of Primark’s flagship Belfast store later this year has been described as a much-needed boost for its economy. (Source - The Belfast Telegraph)

Galgorm owners firmly back in growth mode as sales and profits soar - Tullymore House Ltd, parent of the Galgorm Collection and whose other interests include the Fratelli Group of pizzerias, the Rabbit (formerly the Templeton Hotel at Templepatrick) and 1614 Ltd, had taken a £10 million hit between 2019 and 2020.  But latest accounts filed at Companies House reveal that the hospitality giant - whose main shareholders are the millionaire Hill brothers Nick (60) and Paul (56) - is firmly back in growth mode across all areas of the business.  The group's pre-tax profits jumped from just shy of £400,000 to £3.2 million over the year, and on a bottom-line basis, shareholders banked more than £2 million (against just £116,621 in 2020). (Source - The Irish News)

Tyrone textiles firm Cooneen By Design (a major supplier of uniforms and clothing to police and military forces around the world) saw profits almost halved in the last trading year in what directors described as "very competitive market conditions". (Source - The Irish News)

Silicon Valley tech unicorn Harness announce 80 jobs in new Belfast base - Jyoti Bansal, who founded the Silicon Valley company just five years ago, was in Northern Ireland on Thursday to announce 80 jobs in an Invest NI-backed move.  The company, valued at $3.7 billion (£3bn) just four months ago, has already recruited 30 staff in Northern Ireland since setting up an engineering base in Belfast last year.  It expects to create 50 more jobs over the next two to three years, with Invest NI offering the firm a financial incentive of around £520,000. (Source - The Irish News)

High-rise Belfast apartment scheme set for approval - The South Derry Property Developer, Conway Group's bid centres on a 1.8 acre site on Holmes Street, located between Great Victoria Street and the Dublin Road.  The £6 million scheme has already secured a recommendation for approval from city council officials, but the final say will go to the council's planning committee on Tuesday.  Co Tyrone developer McAleer and Rushe has already secured planning approval for a 15-storey student accommodation scheme next door. (Source - The Irish News)

Plans for an updated hotel and aparthotel development in Belfast's Titanic Quarter are set to move forward after the multimillion-pound proposals were recommended for approval - Acting on behalf of JMK Group, planning consultancy Turley is seeking permission for the scheme on land located off Queens Road. (Source - Insider Media Limited)

Bid for retirement complex raises questions over future of Stormont Hotel - The long-term future of the Stormont Hotel in east Belfast looks uncertain after a new company outlined ambitions to turn the site into a retirement living complex. (Source - The Irish News)

Nearly a quarter of bigger businesses increased staff wages in June - Almost a quarter of bigger businesses in the UK said they had increased staff wages in June amid labour shortages and rising living costs, a new survey from the Office for National Statistics has shown. The accommodation and food sector saw the highest level of pay growth, with 31 per cent of businesses reporting employee salaries had increased. (Source - The Irish News)

More than half of businesses hit by increased regulatory burden due to Brexit - Increased regulatory burdens due to Brexit have hit 54% of businesses, new figures show. Data, published by the Central Statistics Office (CSO), shows that two in five (40%) enterprises had difficulty sourcing raw materials or intermediate products from suppliers abroad due to Covid-19. (Source - The Irish News)

Short supply of new properties means prices are soaring - The latest residential market survey from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) revealed that growth in new home-buyer demand in Northern Ireland stalled in July, but the lack of supply is still driving house prices up. It comes as one estate agent revealed that he has sold eight homes across the north in recent weeks with £1 million-plus price tags, including one in Co Tyrone for £2.5 million. (Source - The Irish News)

UK postal workers to strike for four days in pay dispute - CWU says action will take place in August and September unless Royal Mail ‘gets real’ with ‘dignified’ rise. (Source - The Guardian)

Fermanagh & Omagh top UK league table of regions dominated by just one industry - Agriculture, forestry and fishing account for 40.3% of businesses in the area, the highest single percentage of all UK regions. (Source - Business Live)

Joules confirms talks to sell stake to Next (Source - The Irish News)

PwC has been fined £1.75m by the accounting watchdog over its audit work for BT carried out in the wake of fraud in the telecoms giant’s Italian operations in 2016. (Source - Business Live)

Whilst every effort has been made by CavanaghKelly to ensure the accuracy of the information here, it cannot be guaranteed and neither CavanaghKelly nor any related entity shall have liability to any person who relies on the information herein. Information given here is for guidance only. Detailed professional advice should be taken before acting on any information contained herein. If having read the guidance here, you would like to discuss further; a member of our team would be pleased to help you.