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Ikea’s performance results in jobs boost

By Anne Madden

Home furniture giant Ikea is to create up to 15 new jobs at its Belfast store as it claimed buoyant sales despite the opening of a second outlet in the Irish Republic last year.

The furniture superstore is recruiting between 10 and 15 permanent sales staff for its Holywood Exchange branch near Belfast.

There were concerns that the opening of a new branch at Ballymun, outside Dublin last summer would harm sales in the Belfast store.

However, Ikea has insisted that the island is able to sustain two stores.

Cristie Gregg, Ikea marketing manager for Belfast, said: “We always knew that a second store was on the cards. There was an inevitable drop in visitor |numbers from the Republic because of the Dublin store opening last year but the island of Ireland can sustain two stores.

“We are very happy with the sales performance and compare well with Ikea UK.”

Ms Gregg said the new jobs had been created because the company had identified a gap in the sales force at the Belfast store.

The Dublin store was due to open ahead of Belfast but was delayed due to planning issues in the Republic.

The job creation comes as the British Retail Consortium reported a slow-down in sales.

Retail sales grew 0.5% on a like-for-like basis in July - a steep fall from 1.2% in June.

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