26/05/2003

Bonmarché plans NI expansion

UK retailer bonmarché is to open up to eight new stores throughout Northern Ireland.

The womenswear retailer, which currently operates stores in Belfast, Lisburn and Ballymena, is expecting to open between six and eight new stores by September this year. The expansion is part of a UK-wide store roll out programme which will see 35 new stores opening by the end of 2003.

Since its inception in 1982, bonmarché has established more than 270 outlets in the UK. The company opened its first Northern Ireland store in Belfast three years ago, focusing on affordable quality fashion for older women. John Briggs, Property Controller at bonmarché, said that the success of this store, and the subsequent outlets in Lisburn and Ballymena, has prompted the company to make a significant investment in the province.

He said: “Our experience with our three current outlets in Northern Ireland has been very positive, and we feel that we have created a strong customer base. We believe that there are great opportunities to widen our presence in Northern Ireland, and that is why the region is an important part of our UK expansion plans during 2003.

“bonmarché is keen to establish a leading position in the fast-growing UK value retail market. We are focused on achieving a strong level of growth and profit for the business and maintaining great value products for our customers.”

(CL)

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