Newry centre gets £3m boost as Lidl and Sports Direct get set to move in
Grocery retailer Lidl and Sports Direct are to open at Newry's Buttercrane Centre in a combined investment worth an estimated £3m, it was announced today.
It's a reversal of fortune for the Co Down centre, which suffered two major blows following the closure of its Easons store and the decision by Marks & Spencer to relocate its flagship store to rival centre The Quays.
Lidl plans to take a 25,000 sq ft unit in Buttercrane previously occupied by Easons, as well as part of the former M&S space.
Sports Direct - which is moving from The Quays - will occupy a 22,500 sq ft unit across two floors in the remainder of the M&S unit.
Both moves are subject to the retailers obtaining planning permission.
As part of its plans, Lidl will close one of its two existing stores in Newry at Bagenals Castle.
Since arriving in Northern Ireland in 1999, Lidl has opened 39 stores and its Newry move is part of a continued drive to replace its older stores with more modern premises.
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The estimated cost of replacing a standalone store with a new operation within a shopping centre is around £2m to £3m. Lidl also has another store at the city's Damolly Retail Park.
According to a spokesman, Buttercrane has 900 staff and makes an annual contribution to Newry's economy of £13m.
Peter Murray, centre manager at Buttercrane Shopping Centre, said: "This is a very exciting year for the shopping centre as we mark a successful 30 years in the city.
"We are delighted that Lidl and Sports Direct have chosen to move to Buttercrane, further expanding our diverse offering of fashion, lifestyle and food and beverage retailers."
Conor Boyle, regional director for Lidl NI, said: "Since 2000 Lidl has proudly traded in Newry with our first store at Bagenals Castle, followed by our second store opening 11 years later at Damolly Retail Park.
"As the fastest growing retailer in Northern Ireland we need to accommodate our growing customer numbers and so we have sought a location to replace Bagenals Castle.
"Our proposed scheme will regenerate a strategic site in the heart of Newry city. We look forward to continuing to invest in Newry city and offering shoppers the best value in the market."
Commercial property agencies Lambert Smith Hampton and Cushman and Wakefield acted on behalf of Buttercrane. The centre is also managed by Lambert Smith Hampton.