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Belfast jobs boost as Home Bargains unveils 1m expansion

Up to 60 new jobs have been created in a £1m investment in two new branches of a discount retailer which has occupied many of the premises vacated by defunct chain Woolworths.

Home Bargains already operates three other stores in Northern Ireland in Newtownabbey, Carrickfergus and Omagh, employing 130 people. The new shops will be at the Kennedy Centre on the Falls Road, in Belfast and in the Ards Centre in Newtownards, with both opening this weekend.

TJ Morris, which operates as Home Bargains, has acquired 30 former Woolworths outlets from the administrator and plans to purchase further stores directly from the landlords.

Home Bargains is now planning to open 50 new stores across the UK in the next 12 months.

The five Woolworths stores in Northern Ireland closed for good in December 2008 after administrators were called in, although the company still has an online presence. As belts tighten, more shoppers are heading to cut-price chains.

Rival group B&M Bargains opened 14 new stores across the country in 2010 and employs over 1,200 people in Northern Ireland.

Home Bargains sells branded goods including health and beauty and household products, confectionary, snacks, homeware and drinks and alcohol.

Joe Morris, operations director at Home Bargains, said: “We’re confident that The Kennedy Centre and the Ards Centre will be great locations for us.”

Source : Clare Weir – Belfast Telegraph

15 December 2011
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