Belfast Telegraph

Discount chain for Ulster

By Margaret Canning

A Liverpool-based homeware retailer is expected to create hundreds of jobs when it expands into Northern Ireland in a £25m investment.

Home Bargains — which describes itself as a ‘top brand, bottom price’ retailer — said it would open up to 25 stores in Northern Ireland over the next three to five years.

The discount retailer said its business was thriving, despite the difficulties being experienced in other parts of the economy.

It already has around 190 stores nationwide — but Home Bargains said its Northern Ireland stores would be ‘opportunity-led’ and that it was keen to hear of any site availability.

The company also said it hoped to hire its store management staff from the local area, before launching a recruitment campaign to fill any remaining positions.

Joe Morris, operations director at Home Bargains, said: “We’re very excited to be moving into Northern Ireland for the first time. We’re thrilled to be able to offer new jobs and new investment to the local economy, and are eager to hear about any suitable opportunities.

“Not only will our new stores benefit communities, they will also offer local residents the most popular household brands at exceptionally low prices.”

Home Bargains’ arrival follows the opening of the first Poundland in Belfast’s Castlecourt in October.

TJ Hughes, another Liverpool-born discount retailer, is set for a March opening at the former premises of the Big W at Cityside retail park, formerly known as Yorkgate.

The expansion of the companies contrasts with the ill-fortune of fellow Merseyside-based retailer, Ethel Austin, a discount clothes business which has gone into administration for the second time in two years.

Administrators announced they would be cutting 469 headquarter and warehouse jobs and closing 129 stores, with further job losses to follow.

Belfast Telegraph