Belfast Telegraph

... EZ Living takes over Holywood Exchange site

By Rachel Martin

The former BHS at east Belfast's Holywood Exchange is the first to find a permanent tenant, as Irish furniture chain EZ Living announced plans to open its second Northern Ireland store.

EZ Living Interiors is setting up in the 28,000 sq ft former BHS Home at Holywood Exchange, sitting alongside Decathlon, Next Home, Harvey Norman, Home Bargains, Costa Coffee, Subway and Burger King.

It comes almost a year since the last of four BHS branches closed in Northern Ireland after the UK chain went into administration. Three other ex-BHS stores in NI currently sit empty.

The new store will bring EZ Living's total number of stores across Ireland up to 20.

The family-owned furniture and homeware retailer was founded in Cork around 30 years ago.

Barry Hill of Aviva Investors, owners of Holywood Exchange, said: "We are delighted to welcome EZ Living Interiors to Holywood Exchange, where they will be an excellent complement to our existing retail offer.

"The retail terrace is now fully let and has become a key element of the out of town retail offer in the greater Belfast area."

Gavin White, owner of EZ Living, said: "Following the success of our Boucher Road store, we are excited to have the opportunity to open a second store in Belfast and to better meet the demand that we have witnessed since the opening of our flagship store.

"We have found Belfast to be a thriving metropolitan city which has proved to be an excellent catchment area for us."

EZ Living hit headlines in January when it came to the rescue of Northern Ireland customers who lost thousands of pounds after World of Furniture closed its three stores here. Mr White said he would honour deposits paid by customers to the insolvent firm.

BHS stores at Castle Place in Belfast city centre and at Holywood Exchange in east Belfast were among the last of the chain's shops to close in the UK, shutting their doors for the last time at the end of August.

The branch at Lisburn's Bow Street Mall closed on July 23 with the loss of 24 jobs, while the Abbey Centre BHS, which employed 38 people, closed on July 30. Dunnes Stores set up a temporary base at the Abbey Centre branch.

Belfast Telegraph