Business

Lidl and Sports Direct to open new stores in Newry's Buttercrane Centre

Peter Murray, centre manager at Buttercrane shopping centre, with Criona Collins from Lambert Smith Hampton
Ryan McAleer

GERMAN supermarket chain Lidl is set to open a new store inside Newry's Buttercrane Shopping Centre next year.

Subject to planning approval, Lidl will take on a 25,000 sq ft space previously occupied by Easons and Marks and Spencer. It will replace the retailer's supermarket at Bagenals Castle.

Mike Ashley's budget retail chain Sports Direct is also set to open a new 22,500 sq ft unit across two floors in the centre, taking on remaining space vacated by M&S following its move to the city's Quays Shopping Centre.

One of more successful brands in Mike Ashley's retail portfolio, the new Buttercrane store will be the first in Northern Ireland to feature a new elevated store design being rolled out by Sports Direct. It will also feature a UFC fashion range.

Lidl's move into the shopping centre represents something of a departure from its recent strategy of developing its new concept store designs across Ireland.

It currently has 38 stores across the north, but has planning approval for a series of new and replacement stores in areas including Newcastle, Limavady, Ballymoney, Castlereagh and Dundonald.

However it has signalled a willingness to diversify its range of supermarkets here in recent months by announcing a £2.6m store inside a unit at the Holywood Exchange retail park, close to Belfast City Airport.

Regional director for Lidl Northern Ireland, Conor Boyle said: “Since 2000 Lidl has proudly traded in Newry with our first store at Bagenals Castle, followed by our second store opening 11 years later at Damolly Retail Park.

“As the fastest growing retailer in Northern Ireland we need to accommodate our growing customer numbers and so we have sought a location to replace Bagenals Castle.

“Our proposed scheme will regenerate a strategic site in the heart of Newry city, which has sat vacant for much of the last decade and we believe we will be able to offer a much improved shopping experience for the years ahead. We look forward to continuing to invest in Newry city and offering shoppers the best value in the market.”

Celebrating 30 years in Newry, Buttercrane now employs around 900 people, generating £13m to the economy every year.

Centre manager Peter Murray said: “This is a very exciting year for the shopping centre as we mark a successful 30 years in the city.

“We are delighted that Lidl and Sports Direct have chosen to move to Buttercrane, further expanding our diverse offering of fashion, lifestyle and food and beverage retailers.”

Lambert Smith Hampton and Cushman and Wakefield acted on behalf of Buttercrane, which is also managed by Lambert Smith Hampton.

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