Future looks bright for men's fashion business SD Kells
Men's fashion business SD Kells is expanding its flagship shop in Belfast and opening a brand new outlet in Portadown in a half a million pound growth plan which will take its workforce to 160.
The Belfast branch of the 86-year-old company at Bedford Street will double in size, an expansion which follows the launch of a brand new 5,500 sq ft shop at Market Street in the Co Armagh town, creating seven new jobs in the process.
Plans are also in the pipeline to extend the growing business to a number of other market towns across Northern Ireland.
The latest new store brings the total number under the SD Kells stable to 17, with 10 bearing the family name.
The third-generation outfitter, which was established in Fermanagh in 1928, also operates six Regatta clearance outlets across the province.
Over half a million pounds is being invested in the company's continued development, which is being supported by loans from the Ulster Bank.
The company is now owned and managed by a team including the founders' son and three grandsons.
There are also stores in Omagh, Lurgan, Larne, Newtownards, Banbridge and Armagh.
Marketing spokesman Paul Fenton said the company has continued to flourish amid the competition of cheaper retailers due to its broad choice of ranges to suit every budget.
"SD Kells caters for prices throughout the range. It's not just the top end of the range, but has something to suit every taste and budget," he said.
Chairman Roy Kells paid tribute to the bank for its support throughout the decades it has been in existence.
"We have an extremely long and productive relationship with Ulster Bank that has spanned many decades, and their expertise and continuing support is a central plank in the company's on-going plans for growth and success," he said.
Ulster Bank has provided finance through the Bank of England's Funding for Lending Scheme to support the expansion, in addition to providing a range of other banking services.
Shauna Burns, head of Ulster Bank's Mid-Ulster and Fermanagh business centre, described the firm as "an excellent, well-managed family business".
"These latest investments in Belfast and Portadown will certainly enhance the company's already strong presence in key towns and cities," she said.
"We are strongly committed to supporting the company to achieve its objective of securing outlets in all of Northern Ireland's main market towns."
She added: "And we are working very closely with the business as it continues to actively look for further opportunities to expand."