Next to stick with Belfast as it axes Dublin store
Next is set for expansion in Co Down, with the UK retailer poised to move to a larger store within The Quays Shopping Centre in Newry.
But the fashion retailer is not expected to replicate in Northern Ireland its new strategy in the Republic, where it is set to close its store in Dublin's Grafton Street after more than two decades and focus on larger in-town or out-of-town locations.
Next - whose profits last year overtook Marks & Spencer's for the first time - has said there is "nothing to report" about its Belfast stores.
One industry expert said she believed Next's future in its large store in Belfast's Donegall Place was secure.
Yesterday a spokeswoman for Next said: "At present, there is nothing to report relating to Next stores opening, closing or expanding in the Belfast area."
Alana Coyle, an associate director at commercial property agents CBRE, said she was confident about Next's position in Belfast.
"I think that it is extremely unlikely that Next would consider completely pulling out of Belfast city centre," she said. "Whilst Next have agreed terms to relocate in Newry, they are moving from a small store within The Quays to a larger store in a new phase of development within the scheme, which is less than 20 metres from their existing store."