One of UK's largest Greggs to open in Northern Ireland town
Bakery chain Greggs will open what is believed to be one of its largest UK outlets in Portadown in the near future.
Builders are on site now fitting the 2,800sq ft unit in High Street Mall, which will be the chain's 14th store in Northern Ireland.
Eamonn Murphy of Murphy Chartered Surveyors, the retail and leisure property consultancy for the mall, said the opening sends out a positive message for the centre which has suffered the loss of tenants recently.
"The store is a lot larger than what Greggs would normally open on the high street and I have been told that it is one of their largest," he said.
"High Street Mall has suffered recently with its anchor tenant, Dunnes, closing its 70,000sq ft unit so we hope that this will be a positive drive."
The news comes after Greggs warned that its full-year profits could flat-line after taking a sales hit from the 'Beast from the East' and slower spring trading.
The chain saw like-for-like sales growth in company-managed outlets slow sharply to 1.3% in the first 18 weeks of the year, down from 3.5% a year earlier.
And it said it remains "cautious" for the year ahead, however, Mr Murphy believes that potential for growth here is high.
"They are still new to the market here and I believe they will be trying to grow the brand in Northern Ireland," he added.
Greggs, which was set up in 1951, has 1,900 outlets in the UK. It first came to NI in 2015 via a franchised shop in the Applegreen Service Station on the M2.
Joris Minne, restaurant critic for the Belfast Telegraph, believes the brand has "perfected" the food-on-the-go sector.
He said: "We're all in a hurry and Greggs is a very accessible, almost homey brand which everyone feels comfortable with... and let's face it they are very good at baking savouries; their pastry is always excellent - I'm partial to their chicken katsu curry pastie.
"What I admire most, however, is their quiet, below the radar approach to corporate social responsibility programmes."
10 tasty goodies you can buy in Greggs
1. Bacon breakfast baguette
2. All day breakfast wrap
3. Cheese and onion bake
4. Sausage roll
5. Sausage and bean melt
6. Three cheese pizza
7. Triple chocolate doughnut
8. Yum yum
9. Steak bake
10. Egg and cheese wrap