Fashion retailer's expansion drive could create 200 posts
A Danish clothes retailer is on the hunt for 30 premises in Northern Ireland which could end up employing more than 200 people across Ireland.
Bestseller already trades with five well-known brand names including Vero Moda, Vila, Only and Jack&Jones in 67 stores both north and south of the border.
The group now plans to expand its footprint here to include the Pieces label and maternity clothes retailer Mama-Licious.
Up to four stores will be located in Northern Ireland, with the creation of between 25-30 jobs.
Bestseller has now appointed retail property consultants Savills to acquire the new stores which will create the posts in the next 12-18 months.
The acquisitions, which should be finalised later this year, will bring the Bestseller's store portfolio in Ireland to 97.
Retail hubs in Belfast, Newry and Londonderry have all been pinpointed as possible destinations for the expansion project.
Larry Brennan, director of Savills Ireland, said that Bestseller's decision is an endorsement of the retail market in Ireland.
"It is estimated that approximately 210 new jobs will be created throughout Ireland in most major towns and cities a result of the expansion, which is fantastic news for the economy," he said.
"This is an exciting and important nationwide expansion plan with requirements ranging from 50 sqm accessories stores, 150sqm to 250sqm stores in smaller market towns and shopping centres, to full 1,000sqm flagship stores in the country's retail centres".
Mary Fitzpatrick, brand manager with Bestseller Ireland added that despite the difficult trading environment facing both sides of the border at the moment, the labels have continued to trade well.
"We will begin the recruitment process as soon as all acquisitions have been finalised."