Belfast Telegraph

Boost for Carrickfergus as new Marks & Spencer food hall in town brings 75 jobs

By Margaret Canning

Department store giant Marks & Spencer is to open a store in Co Antrim creating 75 jobs.

M&S said it is to open a food hall - its 19th store in Northern Ireland - next to the Clarion Hotel in Carrickfergus.

The company said the 9,000 square foot outlet would feature its "innovative, high-quality food and drink" as well as a cafe and bakery.

It has now exchanged contracts to purchase the site of the food hall, which will open next year.

Peter Phillips, M&S regional commercial operations manager, said: "We are delighted to be opening a new food hall in Carrickfergus, providing the very best of M&S food in a convenient location.

"The store will bring a fresh, new shopping environment to Carrickfergus, which I know has been long awaited by the local community." The company already has 18 stores - of which eight are food-only - in the province.

It has announced plans to close six stores in England, though it confirmed there were no plans to shut stores on this side of the Irish Sea.

It's also investing in its Newry store as it moves from the city's Buttercrane Shopping Centre to the Quays Shopping Centre, where it will reopen later this year.

M&S last month reported a 64% slump in annual profits to £176.4m as poor sales of its clothing were exacerbated by £400m of restructuring costs. Chief executive Steve Rowe has announced plans to revamp the chain.

Belfast Telegraph