Next flagship store opens with 30 new jobs

Jonathan Martin and Criona Collins of Lambert Smith Hampton pictured with and Emma Mackenzie, Director at NewRiver REIT

Jonathan Martin and Criona Collins of Lambert Smith Hampton pictured with and Emma Mackenzie, Director at NewRiver REIT

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Next has doubled its workforce at its new flagship store at Newtownabbey’s Abbey Centre ahead of Christmas, as part of the extensive development and refurbishment plans delivered by owners of the shopping centre NewRiver REIT.

The new store brings the total figure at Next in Abbey Centre to 60.

The retail investor has created 55,000 sq ft of new retail space at the Abbey Centre since acquiring the centre in August 2014.

Work is currently underway to extend the existing Dunnes Stores unit by 13,000 sq ft. During the works, Dunnes Stores have re-located to the former BHS unit.

The new Next Store is a modern purpose built store and offers shoppers its full range of ladies, men’s, children’s and homeware across two trading floors.

As part of the revitalisation plans for the centre, NewRiver and its retail agents Lambert Smith Hampton and McMullen Wilson are enhancing the retail and leisure offer with restaurant chain Nando’s taking a 3,500 sq ft unit.

Deals have also been agreed on the former BHS and previous Next unit, with announcements expected early next year.

The Abbey Centre has been transformed over the last 18 months, with 10 new retailers opening in the centre. Combined, new retailers have taken up over 17,000 sq ft of retail space and created over 100 new jobs. Along with the new lettings, a number of existing retailers such as Holland & Barrett, Vogue and Argento have upsized into larger units within the centre.

“We are delighted that Next has finally opened its doors marking a major milestone for the centre and securing its status as one of the area’s leading retail and leisure destinations,” said Emma Mackenzie, director at NewRiver REIT.

“It’s an important show of confidence in UK and Northern Irish retail that retailers are continuing to expand and invest when provided with the right locations. At NewRiver we take a very pro-active approach to asset management and development working closely with our retailers and retail agents to create vibrant retail and leisure locations appropriate for local consumer needs.”