The investment is set to create new jobs
German supermarket giant Lidl is set to invest £4.3m and create new jobs with a new Belfast superstore, it can be revealed.
The chain is planning to redevelop and build a new store on the Shore Road in north Belfast.
It says that follows recent investments in new or replacement stores at High Street in the city centre, at Andersonstown Road and at Connswater Retail Park, along with similar plans at Holywood Exchange Retail Park and Castlereagh Road.
The new plans would see it taking on an adjoining site which it says, in combination with the current one, gives it "sufficient space to construct a replacement supermarket of the size required, along with adequate parking".
"The scheme provides planning gain in that it will improve the appearance of the site through the provision of an attractive glazed frontage onto Shore Road similar to Lidl's existing store at Andersonstown Road," developers say.
"The proposal involves an investment of £4.3m and will support 35 jobs (22 existing and 13 new)."
A spokesman for Lidl Northern Ireland said: "We are happy to confirm plans to make a £4m investment into a new concept Lidl store on Shore Road in Belfast.
"This new concept store model will be 2,200 sq m with a 1,420 sq m shop floor and create more than 13 new local jobs in addition to the current store team in our existing location.
"The planned development demonstrates our commitment to this location and to continue to serve the local community on Shore Road which we have had the pleasure of doing for the past 20 years."
The scheme, which is now in pre-planning ahead of the submission of a full application, will see the demolition of existing buildings, the building of the new replacement supermarket, landscaping, car parking, amended access, improvements to Shore Road, and associated site works.
In a letter supporting the application, Lidl says "like other stores that Lidl have recently replaced or intend to replace" the current store is too small to carry its full product line - one of the reasons for expanding its store footprint.
"(The) product range has increased since entering the NI market but in seeking to provide its full range, the store is more densely stocked," Lidl adds.
"Some products can be difficult for some customers to reach while narrow aisles affect the ease at which mobility impaired customers, the elderly and others can get around the store."
Lidl is continuing to grow its reach across Northern Ireland's grocery market.
It has increased its market share, growing to 6.2%, and now has around 40 stores here.
Meanwhile, overall grocery sales have surged by almost 14% in Northern Ireland amid the outbreak of coronavirus. Overall, grocery sales grew by 3% during the 52 weeks to April 19.