Supermarket chain Asda has cancelled its plans to open a store on Crumlin Road in Belfast, after its application for a Beers, Wines and Spirits (BWS) Licence was rejected.
Asda has said that it never opens stores without an alcohol section and so the decision taken by the Recorders Court for the Division of Belfast has made its plans unviable.
The original decision was taken in December but the grocer had until now held out hope of securing the licence on appeal.
An Asda Spokesman said: “Regrettably the court’s decision to refuse Asda a licence to sell alcohol means we are unable to proceed with this particular development.
“Following the court’s decision, our lawyers have made it clear there is very little chance of securing the BWS licence we need on appeal.
“We believe it would be wrong to prolong this process, which has already taken more than 18 months, any further and we have today withdrawn our appeal and informed our landlord of the decision.”
Having first announced its plans to open a 25,000 sq ft store on the site in September 2009, Asda had initially planned to unveil the new outlet in early 2010.
With 16 stores already in Northern Ireland and £29 million invested in properties there, Asda was quick to confirm that its still has ambitions to massively extend its presence in the country.
The spokesman continued: “We remain firmly committed to investing in Northern Ireland, with £100 million specifically ear-marked for future developments over the next five years, including new store developments in Derry/Londonderry, and the re-siting of the Shore Road and Newtownards stores.
“We understand the frustration and disappointment that will be felt by the local community, who have been supportive throughout this entire process.”
Last week Asda was given permission to re-brand the 147 stores it purchased from Netto last year by the Office of Fair Trading, and the grocer hopes to open a total of 168 new stores in total over the course of 2011.