M&S committed to growing Northern Ireland supply network

Pictured at the NIFDA annual dinner are Shaun McAnee, managing director, corporate banking, Danske Bank, Declan Billington, chairperson, NIFDA, Andy Adcock, director of Food, Marks & Spencer and Michael Bell, executive director, NIFDA
Gareth McKeown

MULTI-national retailer Marks and Spencer has said it is committed to growing its supply chains in Northern Ireland and sees Brexit as a potential "opportunity".

Speaking at the Northern Ireland Food and Drink Association (NIFDA) annual dinner M&S director of food Andy Adcock said Brexit presented opportunities for growth and stressed the company's commitment to increase the levels of food it takes from local suppliers.

"We want to continue and accelerate our programme of sourcing in the UK," Mr Adcock said.

"We are committed to increasing the levels of food we take from Northern Ireland."

When asked directly about the implications Brexit could have for the business Mr Adcock said it "should be a good thing for us", with opportunities for growth as a result.

Mr Adock delivered the keynote address at the 21st annual NIFDA dinner in the Hilton Hotel, Templepatrick, where he also spoke about the retailer's 50 years in business in Northern Ireland. Marks and Spencer opened its first of 20 stores in Donegall Place, Belfast in 1967 and now employs over 3,000 staff in the north.

Mr Adcock told the audience how Northern Ireland remains one of the company's most lucrative regional markets, with the Lisburn store claiming the highest food sales in the entire UK.

Looking ahead he highlighted three new store openings at Aldergrove (due to open next week), Craigavon and Carrickfergus.

Over 200 industry leaders from across the local food and drink supply chain were among those in attendance at the annual NIFDA dinner on Wednesday night, supported by Danske Bank. Other speakers were Ciaran Rafferty, Danske Bank corporate acquisition manager and NIFDA chairman Declan Billington.

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