Belfast Telegraph

TK Maxx, B&M Bargains and JD Sports bound for Co Down shopping centre as part of a £7m revamp

By Margaret Canning

Designer discount department store TK Maxx is opening at Ards Shopping Centre as part of a £7m upgrade.

Owners Belfast Office Properties said it is also carrying out renovation work on the Newtownards centre.

The company's directors include Irish developer Paddy McKillen and Padraig Drayne.

Discounter B&M Bargains is also due to open up in the centre, along with sports shop JD Sports.

Belfast Office Properties has built a new 45,000 sq ft unit, where TK Maxx will be trade alongside B&M Bargains.

The three newcomers will be opening their doors in September.

Paul Devlin, asset manager of Belfast Office Properties, said: "The redevelopment and our significant investment is a direct response to the demand for Ards Shopping Centre from major UK brands.

"Ards continues to position itself as a leading retail destination in Northern Ireland.

"We are excited to welcome TK Maxx, B&M Bargains and JD Sports, who combined will enhance and grow our loyal customers' shopping experience and deliver three great brands, further strengthening our retail line-up."

Existing tenants include Argento, Argos, Poundland and River Island.

And a new restaurant/cafe is also due to open in the 45,000 sq ft unit.

TK Maxx is taking a 23,000 sq ft site, and B&M Bargains will open a 10,000 sq ft shop.

And UK value jeweller Warren James has taken a 1,190 sq ft store elsewhere in the centre, while Northern Ireland jeweller Argento has doubled its presence to a 930 sq ft store.

Warren Thompson, group acquisitions manager at JD Sports, said: "The position of the Ards Shopping Centre as both a popular local and regional destination was very appealing to us.

"This new unit will provide us with the space we need to showcase our wide range of leading brands and we look forward to being part of an exciting new expansion plan that will no doubt drive footfall to our store."

Lambert Smith Hampton's Tony Kernan and Gary Martin acted for Belfast Office Properties in the deal.

Associate director Gary Martin said: "We are delighted to secure this new tenant line-up for Ards Shoppping Centre.

"TK Maxx, B&M Bargains and JD Sports will complement the existing line-up of the centre.

"It's a really positive message about Ards Shopping Centre."

He said the centre attracted footfall of around 100,000 people per week, which had remained steady over the last few years.

Mr Martin added that the new signings were good news in the aftermath of Brexit. But he added that there was "still too much uncertainty" to say what the medium to long-term effects might be of Brexit on shopping centre trade in Northern Ireland.

"We still see a strong level of interest in Ards Shopping Centre and it's been a great story for local shoppers."

Ards Shopping Centre is the only mall in Newtownards.

Nearby Bangor has two - Bloomfield Shopping Centre and the Flagship Centre in the middle of the town.

But the Flagship is now on the market for £1m as a redevelopment site.

Belfast Telegraph