Business

Boutique chain Oliver Bonas enters Ireland with Belfast store

Oliver Bonas already operates 43 stores in Britain

LUXURY homeware and fashion retailer Oliver Bonas is to enter the Irish market for the first time with a new store in Belfast.

The firm is scouting several locations around the city with a view to opening later this year.

The company, which operates small boutique-like shops opened its first store on London's Fulham Road in 1993.

It now has 43 branches, with the majority of them in London.

It is understood the company is considering locations in and around Victoria Square, the Lisburn Road and others around Belfast city centre.

A spokeswoman for Oliver Bonas said: "We are really excited about the possibility of opening in Belfast."

It is expected the store opening will create around a dozen jobs.

The company employs 450 staff across the UK and has forecast turnover of £38 million for 2015.

The shop will be the latest addition to Belfast's re-emerging retail and restaurant scene.

In another sign of renewed confidence in the city, popular Mexican restaurant chain Boojum has changed hands in a £3.3m deal.

The company, which has five buritto bars has been bought by Belfast brothers David and Andrew Maxwell.

The restaurant group was founded in 2007 by John and Karen Blisard and has outlets in Belfast, Galway and Dublin.

David Maxwell said there were "excellent opportunities to expand throughout Ireland and the UK over the coming years."

His brother Andrew, a former Ulster rugby player added: "Boojum is synonymous with Mexican cuisine in Ireland and we’re keen to bring Boojum’s fantastic offerings to thousands more new customers in the very near future."

Craig Holmes and Matt McCullough of HNH Group advised on the deal.

The purchase was supported by Dublin-based private equity investor Renatus Capital.

Renatus co-founder Mark Flood said: “We are very excited that Boojum is our first acquisition. Boojum has the best Mexican food offering in Ireland. It is a unique and energetic brand."

Meanwhile, Portadown firm Yellow Door has taken over the running of the restaurant and bar at Belfast's Mac theatre.

The eatery, now known as Native, is the latest venture for the family-run business, which has expanded from a restaurant in Gilford in 1992, to a group now employing 114 staff spread over six sites and with an annual turnover in excess of £5.5 million.

Native general manager Phil Rodgers said: "The MAC has fantastic hire facilities, with a wide range of flexible options that include studios, theatre space, and a boardroom, all fully equipped with the latest technology.

“It’s ideal for the likes of press launches and networking events, and with the experience Yellow Door already has in outside catering, we intend to grow this side of our business here at the MAC too.”

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