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Arrival of JD Sports and TK Maxx increase footfall at Ards centre

By Rachel Martin

New shops have boosted footfall at Ards Shopping Centre, according to the latest figures.

The centre in Newtownards recorded a significant increase in shoppers after it signed new clothing retailers JD Sports and TK Maxx.

Both opened stores in September as part of a £7m redevelopment, which included renovation to the centre's anchor unit previously occupied by Tesco.

Footfall increased for September, October and November by 16% compared to the same three months last year.

The Co Down centre also saw footfall increase by 5% over the last year at a time when average footfall dropped by 1% in stores across Northern Ireland, according to Springboard.

Over the last 12 months several new retailers have been signed to the centre, including B&M Bargains and jeweller Warren James. Argento, meanwhile, doubled the size of its unit.

The centre is owned by Belfast Office Properties, which also owns the Waterfront Plaza in the city.

Paul Devlin, of Belfast Office Properties, said: "Our strategy to develop the existing offer has been met with high demand from major UK brands, who have come on board and had a direct impact on footfall.

"Our ongoing investment means that the enhancements to Ards will continue into the new year and ensure that it remains the region's strongest performing shopping destination."

Mr Devlin added: "2017 will be another key year for Ards."

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