Belfast's new retail complex Victoria Square was hit with further closures as two restaurants shut up shop this week.

At present 24 units out of a total 98 stores are empty and now restaurants Maggiano's and Chili's have closed after less than a year in business.

"About one quarter of the units are vacant, but four new tenants are due to move in shortly," said Brian Lavery of CBRE Belfast. Some units have never been occupied.

Maggiano's and Chilli's were owned by a US company called Brinker which announced it was closing all of its UK outlets.

Victoria Square was part of a €320m regeneration of the city centre that opened in March 2008. It is located close to the city's main shopping area of Donegall Place.

Retailers had been given a 7% reduction in their service charges and rent deals related to turnover have been agreed to allow for difficult trading conditions in the recession, Lavery said.