House of Fraser opens biggest store ever in Dublin

House of Fraser, the department store retailer, has kick-started its expansion programme after a two-and-a-half year hiatus with the opening of its largest-ever store in Belfast.

Three more stores will open later this year – in High Wycombe, Bristol and London – with a further two in the pipeline, in Dublin and Chester. The openings mark the beginning of a new era for the department store group, which was bought by a Baugur-backed consortium in November 2006.

advertisementThe £30m Belfast store, which has 150,000 sq ft of selling space, is House of Fraser’s (HoF) first in Northern Ireland.

John King, chief executive, told staff ahead of the opening: “We think this is the best store in the whole of Ireland and is unique in terms of the brands, shop fit and how it looks.”

The store was on track to deliver record opening day sales for HoF on its first day of full trading.

The store forms part of the 800,000 sq ft Victoria Centre shopping centre, which also opened earlier this week.

The centre will increase Belfast’s shopping centre space by a third and forms part of massive regeneration of the city since political stability was achieved last year.

Ian Paisley, Northern Ireland’s First Minister, who attended a pre-opening event, called the development a “new chapter in the history of Belfast”.

HoF’s chairman, Don McCarthy, said that the chain had been trading well as investment in stores had paid off.

The group invested about £60m last year in the first stages of refurbishment at many stores, including its flagship Oxford Street outlet. Read

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