At least 400 new jobs will be created when Asda opens a flagship store in Antrim.
The £25 million development at the Junction One retail park will be the supermarket’s largest store in Northern Ireland, and will offer food, household, fashion and electrical goods.
The news comes as a welcome boost after high street closures affecting Woolworths and Marks & Spencer, with other retailers suffering the effects of the spending slowdown.
Asda property communications manager Philip Bartram said: “Asda has already shown its commitment to help consumers through the harsh economic climate by announcing a wide range of price cuts in its stores.
“This investment comes at a time when unemployment figures in Northern Ireland are beginning to show the impact of recent economic difficulties, particularly in the retail sector.”
Asda released an artist’s impression of the proposed shop, which will also offer entertainment products and have 650 parking spaces.
The 55,000 sq ft sales area has the backing of local people; according to the company, 88% said they would like to see a new store at Junction One.
Mr Bartram added: “Asda anticipates creating at least 400 new jobs as part of their plans for the £25 million store and will work closely with local job agencies setting up a local employment partnership programme to target job seekers.”
Marks & Spencer plans to close its Simply Food store in Newtownards, with the loss of 37 jobs.
Woolworths’ 19 Northern Ireland stores have shut after the company called in administrators.
Last week it was announced that more than 250 workers were to be made redundant at County Antrim engineering firm FG Wilson.
The redundancies are to be made across sites in Larne, Springvale and Monkstown.