M&S is celebrating half a century since it opened its first store in Northern Ireland, and it is doing so by opening yet more outlets – one of which is at Belfast International Airport. The company will be the anchor tenant at the new “food and fuel forecourt” near the airport, and the new store is due to open near the airport in Belfast in October.
Meanwhile, more jobs will be made available at another new store in Craigavon, which is about half an hour away to the south-west of Belfast. The first store to be opened in Belfast half a century ago was the Donegall Place store in 1967. All the stores in Northern Ireland employ around 3,000 people, and it is believed the new opening in Craigavon will add a further 80 or so positions to that total. The new store will include a food hall and a café with room to seat 50 people.
“Investment and commitment”
The head of region for M&S in Northern Ireland, Ryan Lemon, spoke of the company’s “investment and commitment” to the area, when he talked about the new store opening near Belfast International Airport. The news was originally announced back in April this year. It is not known how many new positions will be available for staff at the airport store.
The company is also looking to develop other locations in Northern Ireland, with Carrickfergus and Newry mentioned in that area.
Several M&S stores now in the area
The flagship store is in Donegall Place, but there are several others nearby as well. Malone Lisburn Road and Belfast Boucher Road are both within a couple of miles of the main store, and are both Simply Food outlets. Just south of Belfast is the Newtownbreda store, and there is another Simply Food outlet in Belfast Upper Road. Meanwhile, the Belfast Abbey Centre store is some 3.7 miles from Belfast.
New jobs and a bright future
M&S is clearly aiming to continue developing its presence in Northern Ireland. Belfast is a hub of activity for the company, and the new store opening soon at the airport looks set to appeal to a whole new audience. The announcement of yet more stores coming soon, together with next month’s opening, is great for the jobs market and great for Belfast and the surrounding area, too