Discount retail giant Primark is close to committing to the opening of a 10th store in Northern Ireland, Belfast Telegraph can reveal.
rimark, which is part of ABF, has been sticking rigidly to selling through bricks and mortar stores only. That policy appears to have paid off as it’s amassed a loyal following among customers at its nine stores here.
Now it’s about to commit to opening its 10th at Rushmere Shopping Centre in Craigavon.
The discount retail giant is close to signing up for a 31,000 square foot space in the shopping centre, which earlier this year lost its anchor tenant, Debenhams. The department store’s departure has left an 82,000 sq ft gap.
It’s understood talks between Rushmere and Primark have been taking place and have made good progress.
With a deal on a lease expected, work on the new store would then start around the middle of summer 2022.
However, neither Primark nor Rushmere wished to confirm the talks between both parties when asked by Belfast Telegraph.
A spokeswoman for Primark said: “As we operate under a public company, we do not comment on speculation around new store openings.”
And a spokesman for Rushmere Shopping Centre said: “We are experiencing strong demand in enquiries and are in continued discussions with a number of retailers and hospitality businesses keen to locate within one of Northern Ireland’s most successful retail destinations.”
Other big operators at Rushmere include Sainsbury’s, Dunnes, TK Maxx, H&M, Matalan, B&M and Boots.
There are now two Primark stores in Belfast city centre, one at Castle Street and another at Donegall Place.
They are replacement stores for its flagship at Bank Buildings in Royal Avenue, which is being restored after a devastating fire in August 2018.
Last month, Primark said it hopes to finish the work on the listed building within the next two years.
“Since the devastating fire three years ago, it has been our ambition to restore Bank Buildings,” it said.
“We are committed to taking a conservation-led approach to restore this much-loved listed building of historical significance to Belfast city.
“The work is complex and takes time and, despite some temporary site closure due to Covid-19 restrictions, we are pleased with progress.
“We are on-track to complete works over the course of the next two years. We continue to comply with government guidelines on construction works.”
Earlier this month, Primark’s owner warned that its autumn/winter range was experiencing stock delays.
ABF said that port and container freight disruptions are causing “some delays to the handover of some autumn/winter inventory”.
It issued an update ahead of the release of its full-year results, which are due on November 9.
And ABF confirmed there would be more Primark openings, including one in Ireland. “We expect to see an acceleration in new store openings in future years.”
And it said the company was working on its digital business. “As we look ahead, digital has a critical role to play as part of Primark’s marketing mix.
“We are progressing the initial design and development for the new digital platform and recruitment of new talent to create a new digital capability within the business is underway.”