Easons Northern Ireland store closures leave comic fans struggling to find favourite comics

The announcement this week that Northern Ireland’s biggest newsagent chain Easons has closed has left comic fans there wondering where to get their favourite comics there, especially as WHSmith does a not have high street stores there. We’ve got some solutions for you.

For those of you who don’t wish to subscribe to comics and are hunting for newsagents or convenience stores for copies of the latest 2000AD or DC Thomson regular titles such as Beano, Commando or Beano Specials, all are distributed by Seymour, who have a handy easy to use shop search facility here.

(This service works for the rest of the UK, too. Beano and Beano Specials are of course available through many supermarkets).

Also, don’t forget to check out Northern Ireland comic shops on our Comic Map, who of course stock 2000AD and more.

The closure of Easons will be big blow to magazine and comic sales in Northern Ireland, even though they had only seven stores still open.

Until the closures were announced, Eason and Son had more than 60 outlets in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, the flagship being their store in O’Connell Street, Dublin. Their shops stock an extensive range of books, newspapers, magazines, greeting cards, and stationery. Some shops also stock music, video, DVD’s, toys, and computer accessories.

Sadly, the retailer announced on Wednesday that all seven of its stores in Northern Ireland would not be reopening having closed for lockdown on 23rd March and furloughed all staff, to the dismay of regular customers and authors in the province.

Eason and Son employed 144 staff in Northern Ireland, at stores in Belfast, Londonderry, Coleraine, Bangor, Lisburn, Enniskillen and Newtownabbey. Its Ballymena outlet closed in February.

In a statement, Easons announced it would “commence a consultation process around proposals not to reopen its seven stores in Northern Ireland.

“The announcement follows a detailed review of the stores in Northern Ireland in the context of the devastating impact of Covid-19 on current and future trade and the implications of a number of other significant factors on the future prospects and sustainability of the business in Northern Ireland.”

The announcement has no impact on the company’s operations in the Republic of Ireland.

Easons, Belfast. Just one of the two floors packed with reading material
Easons, Belfast, December 2017. Just one of the two floors packed with reading material. Photo: Phil Boyce

“Up until only recently the selection of magazines and comics on the shelves of Easons would have put any mainland WHSmith to shame,” notes downthetubes contributor Jeremy Briggs. “They carried titles like MAD that you simply didn’t see anywhere else on the high street.

“The original Belfast Easons in Anne Street was the touchstone for any of my early 1980s trips into the city centre – it didn’t matter what other shops I went into, Leisureworld, the Model Shop, APCK or Caroline Music, Anne Street Easons was always included. I remember where the SF and horror novels were in it, where the imported Marvel comics got put out, where Starburst would be, and even the New Year Sales table where I got copies of the 1979 Space:1999 annual and the Look and Learn Book of Speed and Power.

“So many of the books, magazines and comics of that period that I still own today came out of that Easons.”

Seymour Distribution

Read Phil Boyce’s 2017 article on Easons here | Check out Northern Ireland comic shops on our Comic Map

NewsstandUK offers magazines online; subscriptions and single copies available from a range of over 3000 different titles

Yell: Northern Ireland Newsagents Directory

BBC News: Coronavirus: Eason bookshop will not reopen any NI stores

SUBSCRIPTIONS – OFFICIAL SITES

• 2000AD – Subscribe | Shop

Beano | Subscribe

Commando

Panini UK

With thanks to Jeremy Briggs

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The founder of downthetubes, John works as a comics editor, writer, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing for over 30 years, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.



Categories: British Comics, downthetubes Comics News, downthetubes News

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3 replies

  1. Before lockdown, Easons is where I would go for my weekly shopping for my weeklies, monthlies, and partworks. Coming from Londonderry, Easons was part of the main attraction of the large shopping centre we have here, a community hub where most people come to shop. Right now the fun in seeking out the books I want is gone, most of my shopping is now online where I have to wait a while to get what I want. There are a couple of comic shops here in the city, but they are small, and whether their businesses will survive the pandemic is questionable. But what puzzles me is why close all and not some of the shops in the north, while keeping all the shops open in the south. Still, the fun in physical shopping seems to be no more for now…

    • The BBC report that I included a link to in the story suggests there are a number of reasons for the closures; not just the fall out from the Pandemic but uncertainty for Irish companies operating in Northern Ireland post Brexit.

  2. In the midst of the ongoing pandemic situation , I somehow missed the fact that we have a Brexit situation to deal with as well….

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