Asda exhibits plans to extend its west Belfast supermarket
Supermarket giant Asda is hoping to extend its west Belfast superstore by 7,000 sq ft in a move that will allow it to cater to more online shoppers.
If Asda's proposals go ahead, the shop will see its total retail space in west Belfast expand to almost 50,000 sq ft. And the store at Westwood Retail Park in Kennedy Way could feature new 'click and collect' parking bays for online shoppers to collect their goods, as well as lockers and covered trolley bays.
The retailer, part of US group Walmart, will have a public exhibition on Thursday and Friday when it will showcase plans of the extension into a next door unit.
The plans come just as Westwood's letting agent, CBRE, announced that all units are now fully let following its conversion by developer John Corp Ltd from its former mall format to a row of front-facing units.
Asda's senior communications manager Alan Jones said: "We are currently consulting on our proposals and look forward to taking the views of local people on board at our public exhibition at the store on January 25 and 26."
Mr Jones said staffing plans were not finalised but will be announced in due course.
He added that disruption from a customer's perspective will be "very minimal".
Just last week Ulster Bank opened a £1m branch in the Westwood Retail Park.
The branch replaces the former bank at Andersonstown Leisure Centre, which closed as the centre began a £25m redevelopment.
Following its revamp last year, the Westwood Retail Park benefited from seven new retail units, ranging in size from 6,300sq ft to 40,000 sq ft.
All units are now let by anchor tenants Asda and B&M as well as Harry Corry, Ulster Bank, Air-tastic and Jollyes.
An additional unit facing the retail park is occupied by a McDonald's restaurant and drive-thru.
Colin Mathewson, senior director of retail agency at CBRE, said: "The success of this development really is great news, not just for Northern Ireland's retail sector but for west Belfast.
"That such prominent names are now in the centre bears witness to the potential they envisage for the area and we expect the momentum to continue.
"The broad range of proposed uses is particularly pleasing and will ensure a vibrant centre for everyone."
Just recently the annual Kantar Worldpanel Supermarket Share report revealed that Asda's share of the supermarket sector here had dropped by 0.7% to 17%, making it the only major multiple to suffer a drop in share.