Belfast Telegraph

B&M brings 32 jobs as it moves into former Tesco store

By Jamie Stinson

Discount retailer B&M Stores has announced it will take over the former Tesco supermarket on Cregagh Road in east Belfast.

The new B&M Bargains store, the retailer's 29th in the province, is due to open by June 26 and will create 32 jobs.

In January, Tesco announced the closure of the Cregagh Road store as part of a restructuring process, which also brought about the closure of its stores at Connswater in east Belfast and Church Street in Ballymena.

Former Tesco chief executive Sir Terry Leahy, who ran the supermarket during its glory years between 1997 to 2011, is now chairman of B&M.

The firm, which employees 800 people in Northern Ireland, operates two types of store in the UK - its high-street Bargain store and its out-of-town Home store.

The former Tesco store employed 59 people and six ex-Tesco employees will be working at the new store.

Claire Lagan, store manager at B&M Cregagh Road Belfast, said: "B&M is committed to recruiting from the local area and I am delighted we've found a great team from in and around Belfast.

"We're really proud to be creating another 32 jobs across the city this year and continuing to play our part in the local community."

The firm, founded in 1978, has seen rapid growth since it was bought by brothers Simon and Bobby Arora in 2004, with the number of stores increasing from 21 to 449.

B&M, which floated on the London Stock Exchange last year, has opened 30 new stores this calendar year and plans to open a further 60 by the end of the financial year, next April. The company also operates in Germany under the JA Woll brand.

In its latest financial results, released at the end of May, revenues for the group rose by 30% to £1.6bn and pre-tax profits rocketed 1,602% from £3.6m to £62m.

Meanwhile, Rushmere shopping centre in Craigavon announced 16 jobs will be created after two new retailers announced they were moving in.

Northern Ireland retailers Clockwork and At The Studio will join retailers like River Island, Monsoon and Topshop.

Rushmere centre manager Martin Walsh said: "These new stores have given Rushmere a real edge in the provision of affordable fashion and quality clothing for the whole family and complement the centre's strong retail mix, which has been developed to appeal to individuals, families and budgets of every size.

"Our investment strategy and commitment to making Rushmere shopping centre Northern Ireland's number one retail destination has worked exceptionally well and I'm pleased to announce not only additional choice, but welcome new jobs too."

The shopping centre will also now accept click and collect service, allowing customers to order products online and pick them up at Rushmere.

Belfast Telegraph