The Range plans new superstore in former B&Q on Belfast's Boucher Road
Fast growing UK discount retailer The Range has confirmed it will open a new 65,000 sq ft superstore and garden centre in former B&Q on Belfast's Boucher Road.
The popular budget department franchise, which sells home ware, fashion, leisure and garden goods, earned the royal seal of approval last month when the Duchess of Cambridge selected an outlet in Norfolk to buy Christmas presents.
Founded in 1989 by Plymouth market trader turned billionaire Chris Dawson, The Range has grown to over 160 stores across the UK and Ireland, including four here.
The retail chain is currently building its fifth local store at the Northcott shopping centre in Glengormley, which is expected to create 70 jobs when it opens around Easter.
The new Boucher Road superstore is set to join its local portfolio later in the year, which includes outlets in Portadown, Ballymena, Londonderry and the Connswater Shopping Centre in east Belfast.
The Range's upward trajectory is in contrast to DIY giant B&Q, which has closed four of its nine stores here since 2015.
Alongside the Boucher Road outlet, stores in Craigavon, Derry and Ballymena have been axed.
B&Q, owned by Kingfisher, continues to operate in Sprucefield, Coleraine, Newry, Holywood and Newtownabbey.
Its former Boucher Road site, including a 150,000 sq ft warehouse, had recently been used by social enterprise South 13 to encourage and support Belfast's creative talent. However, a planning application has sought to turn it into five separate units and redevelop the former superstore's front facade.
Around half the site will be occupied by The Range.
The company told Business Telegraph: "We can confirm that we have exchanged on the old B&Q site in Boucher Road and are hoping to open a store there later in the year."
Property agents TDK said a number of well known retailers have expressed interest in the remaining units, which range from 11,550 sq ft to 32,500 sq ft.
The site is next to the seven-acre former Balmoral Fruit Market, which went on sale in November with an asking price of £8.5m. It was described as a prime development site and according to selling agents, has attracted strong interest.