Up to 80 new jobs are to be created in the Craigavon area as retailer Marks and Spencer announced a new store as part of its 50th anniversary celebrations in the province.
The move, which brings the number of stores here to 21, comes as the company marks 50 years of trading in Northern Ireland following the opening of the first store in Belfast in 1967.
To mark the occasion, Marks & Spencer chief executive Steve Rowe visited the store in Donegall Place and met staff and guests including Lord Mayor Nuala McAllister.
“Marks & Spencer is proud to be celebrating 50 years of partnership with the people of Northern Ireland.
“Our success here is down to the mutual support of our customers, suppliers and dedicated colleagues over the last five decades.
“Today is also about celebrating the future of M&S in Northern Ireland, and our continued commitment to the region.
“I’m delighted to announce today that we’ll be opening a brand new food hall in Craigavon next year, and with more stores in the pipeline, we hope the next fifty years in Northern Ireland will be every bit as special as the last.”
The 7,400sqft store at Craigavon will be located on Marlborough Retail Park and also feature a 50 seat café.
New locations are also under development as Ryan Lemon, head of region for M&S in Northern Ireland explained.
“We have served the people of Northern Ireland for half a century, and our continued expansion, at Aldergrove, Carrickfergus, Newry and now Craigavon, brings even more opportunities to make every moment special for our loyal Northern Irish customers.
“We are privileged to be part of the local community in Northern Ireland and in this anniversary year, staff from every store took on 50 ambitious community projects during a two-week period, everything from renovating charity shops and animal shelters, to tea parties and sewing bees.
“We have also committed to play our part in delivering one million hours of community volunteering by 2025, to help make a difference to the projects and initiatives that really matter in the communities we serve.”