A NEW fashion concept store launched by River Island last autumn is set to open in Belfast city centre.
River Studios is understood to be the new tenant for a development on Donegall Place that will merge the former Disney Store with the Clarks shoe store next door.
Disney vacated its former city centre store in late 2021. It’s understood Clarks has also now closed its shop on Donegall Place.
Oxford Street Capital, a property firm, whose directors include the high profile developer Andrew Creighton, has submitted a planning application to merge the two units at McAuley House.
The application states that the new units will be merged into “a single retail unit for a new incoming clothing retail tenant”.
While the tenant has not been named in the Oxford Street Capital documents, a separate application has been lodged for the same merged unit by River Island itself.
Drawings submitted to the planning portal confirm the store will be a River Studios concept outlet.
River Island has launched just a handful of the new format stores to date.
The fashion chain said it offers ‘an elevated experience’ featuring in-house stylists, curated collections and smart fitting rooms, allowing customers to request alternative products and seek assistance without leaving the cubicles.
River Island currently operate a retail outlet on the opposite side of Donegall Place. It’s one of three stores in the city and 14 across Northern Ireland.
Documents submitted as part of the planning application show the groundfloor of the new merged Donegall Place unit will comprise 5,217 sq ft of womenswear and another 1,175 sq ft for kids clothing.
The first floor will feature 3,004 sq ft of menswear.
Both the former Disney and Clarks units are part of the listed McAuley House building. Anderson McAuley’s department store, which closed in 1993, was built between 1895 and 1899, replacing an earlier building built in 1861.