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Gourmet grocer Waitrose to open Northern Ireland store

By Heather McGarrigle

Food retailer Waitrose is set to open its doors in Northern Ireland.

It is understood the upmarket chain, which is part of the John Lewis group, has enlisted the help of a developer to source potential sites in the province.

The name of the developer |has not been revealed but Waitrose’s owners are understood to be considering sites in greater Belfast, including Holywood and south and east Belfast.

Speculation is growing that the Holywood rugby and cricket ground has been sold to the supermarket chain.

North Down Borough Council sold the land last year but is |remaining tightlipped on whether Waitrose stumped up the £5m asking price. A spokeswoman for North Down the Borough Council said the it had “not received any direct approach from Waitrose”.

As an employee-owned firm, John Lewis yesterday announced its workers, or partners, would be sharing a £194.5m bonus pot after a strong trading period for the company.

Its 76,500 staff will enjoy a windfall worth two months’ pay when the cash is distributed.

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