Belfast Telegraph

Retail store opening gives jobs boost to town

By Heather McGarrigle

A UK retail chain is to invest £250,000 and create over 20 jobs in a Co Down town centre.

Budget department store chain The Original Factory Shop will open a new store in Warrenpoint next month.

The new shop will occupy the redundant Freshfields site on Newry Road, in a move the company believes will breathe new life into the town.

Mark Riddell, from Savills property consultants, who acted on behalf of the retailer, said: "The Original Factory Shop is the right type of store for this location and the investment by the company is an indication that they are committed to developing their footprint in Northern Ireland."

The low price retailer already has five Northern Ireland stores, in Bangor, Omagh, Kilkeel, Holywood and Dungannon, employing nearly 100 people in total.

As well as the new Warrenpoint store, there are plans to open a store in Ballycastle and one in Portrush - representing two of the 400 potential UK store locations identified by the company.

No further details on these stores are available yet, but discussions are ongoing and it is believed the new shops could each employ around 20 people

The Original Factory Shop already has over 170 stores, employs a total of 2,600 people and has a turnover of over £132m.

The company was established in 1969, selling seconds originally manufactured for Marks and Spencer.

Today, it sells branded goods as well as products originally made for other high street retailers or supermarkets and aims to bring department stores to smaller or more rural towns.