Belfast Telegraph

Clarks discount store in Antrim closes its doors

Emma Deighan

By Emma Deighan

Shoe retailer Clarks has closed its unit at The Junction retail park in Antrim.

The discounted version of the high street store has been on the site since it opened in 2004.

Roger Craig, senior portfolio manager of the Lotus Group, said the closure was disappointing but paved the way for a new brand to enter the scheme.

"Since 2004, The Junction has attracted numerous big brand retail stores into Antrim, most recently including McDonald's, Bonmarche and Clockwork Warehouse," he said.

"While it is disappointing when tenants decide to leave the scheme, we do see any available vacancies as an opportunity to refresh and enhance the offering we provide to shoppers.

"We have a long-term, strategic plan in place for The Junction and there continues to be significant interest from retailers.

"We look forward to announcing new and exciting brands to the scheme in the coming months."

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The shopping destination, which recently changed its name from Junction One, got the green light for a £30m expansion late last year.

McDonald's was the first of a proposed 20 new shops, cafes, restaurants and drive-thrus earmarked for the site.

The Lotus Group, which bought the park in 2016, said up to 500 jobs would be created through the investment project and redevelopment and will make The Junction Northern Ireland's largest shopping and leisure destination.

The Junction is one of three retail parks here owned by Lotus.

Its site in Banbridge, The Boulevard, is also currently undergoing significant investment and will welcome three retailers this summer: Adidas, Kurt Geiger and Asics.

The three new outlets represent a £900,000 investment in the centre.

Other key brands introduced there over the past year include Jack and Jones, Ulster Weavers and The Beauty Outlet.

Clarks also has a unit at the Boulevard and around 45 outlet stores throughout the UK and Ireland.

Its original model was set up in 1825 in England.

Following a 12-year hiatus from shoe production in the UK, the retailer confirmed that it would return to large-scale manufacturing with a new factory in southwest England.

Belfast Telegraph