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Pastry firm Patisserie Valerie plans to open 18 new shops across Ireland

Exclusive by Rachel Martin

London coffee shop and pastry firm Patisserie Valerie has said it may open up to 20 shops across the island of Ireland - all supported by the bakery in its first Belfast store.

The plc, which is led by chief executive Paul May, opened its first coffee shop on the island of Ireland in Belfast's Donegall Square earlier this year.

Mr May told the Belfast Telegraph that as the shop is fitted with a bakery in the basement, it would help support the opening of up to 20 shops across Ireland.

He revealed plans to open up in Londonderry as it prepares to open up its second shop in Belfast in Castle Lane.

And it's eyeing up another three sites in the city.

Mr May said: "The first Belfast store has been trading fantastically well and we are excited to expand further into Belfast. We first looked at the site (on Castle Lane) about six weeks ago and are at the drawings and designs stage.

Because we open a lot of stores we tend to do it fairly quickly - on average we open around three-and-a-half weeks after we sign the lease.

"Because we fitted out our first store with a bakery in the basement we have the capacity to set up to 20 stores in southern and Northern Ireland."

But Patisserie Valerie isn't the only baking firm and coffee shop which is on the march in Northern Ireland.

Bakery chain Greggs is to open up to 50 stores.

And home-grown patisserie Miel et Moi on Belfast's Lisburn Road has said it is expanding.

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