INVEST NI will not be involved in trying to attract stores such as Primark to Coleraine, the Chief Executive has said.
Alastair Hamilton, Chief Executive Invest NI, made the comments during a meeting with Coleraine Borough Council’s Policy and Development Committee on Tuesday.
Garvagh councillor Sam Cole asked if Invest NI would be “active in trying to entice” stores such as Primark to Coleraine which had so many vacant retail units in its town centre.
Mr Hamilton said: “The main areas we focus on are manufacturing and tradable services not retail. So we would not get involved in looking at Primark.”
He explained that Invest NI would not be able to do anything to “grow the market” for huge retail businesses such as Primark or Tesco because they could not, for example, “increase the number of people in the town or increase how much they eat”.
He said that any financial intervention would result in another business not receiving funding.
Mr Hamilton said that Invest NI does encourage retail companies to come to different workshops but does not support them via financial intervention.
The Coleraine Times revealed earlier this month that speculation was growing that Primark was to occupy the currently vacant premises of JJB Sports at Hanover Place.
The company said ‘no comment’ when we contacted them.