Belfast Telegraph

Twenty beauty staff employed by Tesco to pamper its shoppers

By Rebecca Kincade

Tesco has unveiled the first of its "next generation shopping experiences" at its flagship store in Knocknagoney outside Belfast.

The £2.3m refresh, which took eight weeks to complete, is part of a £44.5m overall investment in Northern Ireland stores this year.

Around £35m will be spent on a new Extra store in Banbridge.

Tesco Knocknagoney is one of the best-performing of the retailer's 55 stores in Northern Ireland, attracting more than 2.5 million shoppers every year.

As part of the investment, the store has opened Northern Ireland's first Beautyworld department, with 20 beauty staff available for giving treatments. Non-food areas have also been given a new look.

Thirty new jobs will bring the overall number of those employed at Knocknagoney to 460.

Nicola Irvine, Knocknagoney store manager, said: "The changes have been significant and we believe we are offering shoppers something completely new and different.

"This is now a location where, under one roof, they can do their 'shop', relax, chill and even pamper themselves.

"As well as the first Virgin Travel outlet and Beautyworld in Northern Ireland we have added a Phone Shop and the province's first Tesco Community room where local groups can meet."

She added: "The feedback already has been very strong and we're delighted also to announce plans to host Tesco Northern Ireland's first 'indoor market' featuring 16 local suppliers."

Dr Karise Hutchinson, head of business and enterprise department at the Ulster Business School, said the refurbishment was a response to changing customer habits.

"Customers today want interaction and experience on the move. Recent trends such as mobile marketing, showrooming and the importance of convenience marks a new social chapter in the development of the retail sector," she said.

"Ultimately retailers must not be backward in going forward.

"In this new development, Tesco have taken account of recent trends and are being proactive in terms of marketing their brand and products to consumers in an experiential way."

Tesco revealed in autumn last year that annual purchasing of Northern Ireland produce has grown by £80m year-on-year, to over £580m, an increase of 16% on the previous year.

Belfast Telegraph