Belfast Telegraph

Rushmere centre fully occupied as budget grocer Iceland moves in

Rushmere shopping centre
Rushmere shopping centre
Margaret Canning

By Margaret Canning

Craigavon shopping centre Rushmere has said it's now at full occupancy after the opening of a store by budget grocer Iceland, creating 32 new jobs.

It's the supermarket's 36th branch in Northern Ireland. The new format shop has self-service check-outs and new product ranges including chilled foods and fresh foods.

Rushmere said that as a result of the opening of the Iceland store, all of its units are now fully let.

And it said visitor numbers had also increased and were up 8.5% for the full month of April compared to last year. And over the year to date, visitor numbers were up by just over 6%.

The 42-year-old shopping centre draws more than 6.5 million visitors a year.

Last year it began an investment programme of £2m to increase its hospitality offering, adding a new Five Guys burger restaurant as well as chicken joint Nandos.

Centre manager Martin Walsh said: "With our prime location, mix of retail stores and variety of big brands, Rushmere Shopping Centre continues to build on the success of 2018 by adding to our retail offering.

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"We are delighted to welcome the new format Iceland store to Rushmere Shopping Centre. Our customers come to us because of our strong retail mix, catering for all budgets, and the addition of Iceland only strengthens this offering."

Other recent openings at Rushmere include fashion and footwear brand DV8, as well as womenswear retailer Vogue.

Rushmere is owned by property company Central Craigavon, controlled by brothers Peter and John Robinson.

The shopping centre's positive performance has bucked a wider trend for retail, with the latest research suggesting a general increase in vacancy rates. Information company Springboard said the Northern Ireland vacancy rate had accelerated from 14% to 14.9% between March and April, the highest level since October 2017.

However, footfall data suggested Northern Ireland's retail centres continued to outperform the rest of the UK.

A 0.5% rise in footfall in April was the ninth month of growth in the past 12 here, against the UK average decline of 0.5%.

Belfast Telegraph