Planning permission has been granted for a Sainsbury's store in Dundonald – but turned down for an Asda site in Newtownards.
The Dundonald proposal is for a 9,400sqm foodstore and petrol filling station as well as 4,000sqm of light industrial units and 4,400sqm of storage and distribution units at the former Rolls Royce factory site in Dundonald.
The Newtownards proposal includes a 7,517sqm foodstore for Asda Stores, a petrol filling station, three bulky comparison retail units and a park-and-ride facility at the former Scrabo High School in Newtownards.
The Environment Minister Alex Attwood said he is refusing the Newtownards proposal because of the impact on Newtownards town centre.
"The proposal involves the replacement of the existing Asda store within Ards Shopping Centre with an enlarged standalone superstore," he said.
"This would just largely displace existing jobs.
"I have previously given permission for a major extension to Ards Shopping Centre which is a long established shopping centre at the edge of the town.
"I consider there is scope for Asda to assess their options for expansion on this existing site."
He added that the Dundonald proposal will bring a boost for the construction industry and the local area.
"This will generate construction jobs in the short term, jobs in the food store with more jobs in the industrial units when fully built and operational," he said.