Leeds and Everton to open new official club stores in Belfast city centre
LEEDS United and Everton are set to open their first official club merchandise stores on the island of Ireland in Belfast this month.
The Premier League clubs will divide a unit on Castle Lane recently vacated by Rangers.
The Glasgow club has relocated its official Belfast club store a short distance away to Donegall Place.
Everton confirmed its end of the split merchandise store, located opposite the club shop of Merseyside rivals Liverpool, will open on Thursday.
It’s unclear if the Leeds store will open at the same time.
Everton’s club store will be operated by its US retail partner Fanatics, which runs merchandise operations for a number of high profile sports clubs.
Leeds United signed an extended retail partnership agreement with JD Sports over the summer.
Both Premier League clubs said they are keen to tap into their sizeable Irish fan base.
Everton confirmed it’s actively looking into expanding its presence in the Republic for the 2022/23 season.
Meanwhile Leeds United will look to cash in on its renaissance since returning to the Premiership.
The club currently has five official shops, all in West Yorkshire.
The Premier League club, which had typically sold around 60,000 to 70,000 replica shirts in recent years, is now on course to sell around 300,000 jerseys this year.
It’s thought that the new store will be keen to feature the club’s Cookstown-born star Stuart Dallas.
Everton’s commercial director Alan McTavish said the club jumped at the chance to connect with its sizeable support base in the north.
"As a club, we are always looking at ways of broadening our retail offer and getting closer to our supporters. This store gives the club the chance to connect with supporters in the region,” he said.
“We are aware of the fans' request in the Republic of Ireland to have our kits in more stores, and we have been working with Fanatics to do so from next season.”
Fanatics’ UK general manager, Danny Downs, said: "It is clear to us that the popularity of the club across the globe has increased significantly in recent years, and we’re excited about the range of opportunities that will help maintain this growth and serve Everton fans wherever they are based in the world."