Home Bargains set to take over former Co-op site in Larne

The Larne Co-op on Circular Road. INLT 04-315-PR

The Larne Co-op on Circular Road. INLT 04-315-PR

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Discount retailer Home Bargains will open its largest store in Northern Ireland later this year at Larne’s Circular Road, the Times understands.

The firm – one of the biggest family-run retailers in the UK– has already started recruiting for sales positions for the new store, to be located at the site of the former Co-Operative supermarket, which closed in June.

While Home Bargains would not confirm an exact date for the opening, information on the company’s website indicates the store is set to open in November.

A reliable source told the Times that the Circular Road store would be the company’s largest in the province; a record currently held by the Home Bargains at the former Woodside’s site in Ballyclare.

At this time, it is not known how many jobs will be created.

Many of existing Home Bargain stores across Northern Ireland, including those located in Carrickfergus, Newtownabbey and Ballyclare, were billed as providing up to 40 full and part-time positions.

Vice-chairman of Larne Traders Forum, Mark Dobbin, welcomed the news and described it as “a great boost for the town”.

He added: “It is good to know that the disused Co-Op site will not be sitting empty for long, as there were fears it could have become a blight on the town.

“Circular Road is the ideal spot for Home Bargians to set up shop. It has good access and parking, and is walking distance to the heart of the town centre. This will help people shop local and keep Larne alive.”

Home Bargains, founded in Liverpool 30 years ago, has an aggressive expansion programme and says it will open 50 stores around the UK in the next year and recruit over 2,000 staff.

It currenty has more than 350 outlets – 14 of which are in Northern Ireland – but hopes to grow that number to over 700, with more than 25,000 employees.

The company sells a wide range of products, from cheap alcohol to electronics and food, and is firmly aimed at discount shoppers.