Tesco plan for town centre

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SUPERMARKET giant Tesco has announced plans to open a new store in Larne within the next financial year, creating about 20 new jobs.

The store will be one of the retailer’s smaller Express branches and is to be located at the site formerly occupied by Dorothy Perkins on Main Street, which ceased trading last April.

Tesco Stores Ltd – which failed in a bid to build a superstore at Inver Park last year – has applied for planning permission for the installation of a new ATM and bollards at the site, as well as a new shopfront including new windows, automatic bi-parting doors, internal ramp access and new security bollards.

The company has also lodged an application for the erection of a single-storey rear extension and external air conditioning units.

Gloria Coats, corporate affairs manager for Tesco, told the Times: “We are delighted at the opportunity to invest in Larne with a new Tesco Express store on Main Street.

“Our new store will bring back to life a vacant unit on the high street and create around 20 new jobs. A Tesco Express is our smallest format Tesco store, and it’s really handy when you need to top up your weekly shop with a few extra essentials or are looking for a sandwich on your lunch break.

“We look forward to bringing jobs and investment to Larne,” Gloria added.

John Shannon, chairman of Larne Traders Forum welcomed the news and said it was a “win-win situation” for the town.

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He told the Times: “I am opposed to out of town shopping, so it is great that Tesco has decided to set up shop slap-bang in the centre of town.

“Another positive factor is that Tesco is taking over an empty unit and redeveloping it, which will help to improve the look of the town centre.”

When asked if he felt that the arrival of Tesco Express would be detrimental to other convenience-type shops in the area, he replied: “Shops such as Dunnes Stores, which is just across the road from the site, have their own loyal customer bases. I think there is room for these businesses to thrive alongside Tesco,” he concluded.

Tesco has confirmed it will be making more information available regarding recruitment and the store opening date in the coming months.