Alan Lawther said: “Town centre shopping is the best option for retail growth Northern Ireland. I strongly support the FSB’s reviving retail plan.
“The Christmas period emphasizes the strengths of town centre retail with a strong sense of community and festivities in town centres across Northern Ireland.
“Town centres and their shops are the heart and soul of communities in Northern Ireland. They also provide massive employment opportunities for the region.
“We must ensure that small local businesses can compete on a level playing field with bigger international retail chains. Local retailers and small businesses must be supported as they are a large part of our community and tradition.
“Better public transport links would help boost town centre retail and reduce congestion, therefore attracting more shoppers.”