Asda's £2.5m Belfast shop expansion given green light
Belfast City Council has approved supermarket chain Asda's plans to extend its Belfast Westwood Retail Park superstore in what will be a £2.5m project.
The move will see the retailer extend the west Belfast store by 7,000 sq ft, allowing it to stock a wider range of Asda products.
Asda's plans include external improvements, including new 'click and collect' parking bays allowing customers to order online and then pick up shopping at a chosen time. They also include new covered trolley bays.
The company is in talks over a possible merger with rival Sainsbury's, which operates a store at the nearby Kennedy Centre.
Joe McDonald, Asda's senior manager for corporate affairs in Northern Ireland, said: "We at Asda are thrilled that Belfast City Council has approved our plans to extend our Westwood superstore.
"Our community consultation exercise showed overwhelming support amongst local people for our plans. We are excited to be able to deliver this major investment in our store.
"Our £2.5m store extension comes alongside other high-profile investments nearby, including Translink's Glider bus service and a new Andersonstown Leisure Centre. Added together, these investments demonstrate a hugely optimistic outlook for west Belfast."
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Asda entered the Northern Ireland market in 2005 with the acquisition of Safeway/Morrisons' 13-store portfolio.
It now has 17 stores across the region - including one Asda Living - and a distribution centre in Larne.
From an initial 2,000-strong workforce upon entering the retail market here, the business has grown to employ almost 4,000 staff.
Westwood Retail Park benefited from seven new retail units in an extensive revamp last year.
Asda has also announced plans to open its 18th store here in a project at the former premises of Nortel in Mallusk, Co Antrim.
A merger between Asda and Sainsbury's would create a supermarket titan with revenues of £51bn.