Posted on Tuesday 24 September 2013 by Ulster Business

Ferguson Flowers

One of Northern Ireland's leading florists has become is the latest business to move out of Belfast city centre as a result of declining footfall and high rent and rates.

Family owned Ferguson Flowers, which had been in the city centre for 28 years, said it has also experienced a significant increase in online sales in recent years.

The company said that despite being a tough decision they view the move to East Belfast's Belmont Road as a positive one which is taking the company back to its roots.

Owner David Ferguson said: "Ferguson's opened on the Newtownards Road in 1939 as a confectionary shop and in 1974 we began to sell flowers. Now, 35 years later, we are delighted to be making a return to East Belfast. The decision to relocate from our popular Wellington Place site was not an easy one, however, there has been a drastic decline in foot traffic in Belfast's City Centre in recent years, and rates have not adapted with the new retail landscape. We were drawn to the Belmont Road by the thriving village atmosphere. The move has been great for our business, and we have increased our staffing levels as a result."

The move away from City Centre isn't the first bold step Ferguson Flowers has made in its history. In 1995, David Ferguson purchased the web domain www.fergusonflowers.co.uk for only £25 and while some saw the purchase as frivolous, David saw the immense potential of the internet.

"Starting the Ferguson Flowers website revolutionised our business," said David. "Offering an online option for purchasing and sending flowers was a tremendous step forward for Ferguson's and within ten years 60% of the business had moved to online. Today, 80% of our orders are placed online."

Since moving to the Belmont Road the company said it has already experienced higher footfall from passing trade.

"Our move to back to East Belfast has really brought Ferguson's full-circle," added David. "We left the High Street as the Internet boomed, but in more recent times customers have embraced local shops and are showing more support to local businesses in their community. For the moment, we have the perfect balance."

 

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