Lidl continuing new store concept roll-out with £5m Ballymoney site
Supermarket chain Lidl is to open a new £5.75m concept store in Ballymoney to replace its existing site there.
The German discount chain confirmed the approval of plans to build a "high quality shopping environment with more space, wider aisles, longer tills, restroom and baby-changing facilities" in a site facing the current Meeting House Street store.
The new building will have a gross floorspace of 2,148 sq m, while 153 parking spaces will be provided outside the premises. The town's current store will remain open until the retailer completes the project at 18-24 and 34 Meeting House Street.
The announcement comes just days after Lidl confirmed it would build a similar new concept store in Limavady, to replace the current "barn-like" outlet already in the town.
The discount chain was originally granted permission for a similar scheme in October 2016.
An updated version of the proposal was signed off by planners at Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council last week.
It will see the retailer knock down its existing premises, which were built in 2000, along with two neighbouring retail units on Main Street.
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Referencing the Limavady site, a spokesperson for the chain said: "Lidl expect to be in a position to confirm closure and reopening dates in the coming weeks for the proposed new Limavady store.
"We are very excited about the prospect of bringing our state of the art new concept store with the same great value products to our valued Limavady customers."
The retailer said both new concept stores boast greater access, energy efficiency and warehouse space. They are part of a wider investment in line with the company's NI growth plans.
Among those plans are an £8m store at the former Hughes Christensen site in east Belfast to replace the current store at the junction of Castlereagh and Montgomery Roads and a large unit at the Holywood Exchange retail park, close to Belfast City Airport, in a £2.6m investment.
This growth has seen Lidl become the fastest-growing grocery retailer in Northern Ireland with recent market research from Kantar showing it has pushed its share of the sector up to 6.1%.
Consumer insight director at Kantar, Charlotte James, described the supermarket as "the only retailer to buck the trend and increase its market share this period".
"It successfully increased its customers' basket sizes to an average of 15 items per trip, compared to 14 this time last year.
"While Lidl has experienced a fall in shopper numbers and frequency of trips, overall volumes are up 5.7%," she said.
Lidl currently has 39 stores here.