Major discount chain store set to open in Magherafelt
One of the UK’s fastest growing discount chain stores - Home Bargains - is coming to Magherafelt, the ‘MAIL’ can reveal.
It will be located at Castledawson Road on the site of the former Forbes Furniture store which is being demolished.Mid Ulster business man Patsy Forbes confirmed the popular store would be opening at the site which he is hoping to develop into a retail park.Mr Forbes has planning permission for the erection of a drive thru restaurant at the same location but describes that as “a work in progress”.He said the Home Bargains store would be about twice the size of his furniture store and expected it to be in place “within the year”.The Ardboe man, who won the Life Achievement Award at the Mid Ulster Business Awards in 2015, has been focused on developing the site for some years despite a number of setbacks.He said the Home Bargains would create jobs in the town and, more importantly, “keep people in the town”.Mr Forbes said with Lidl supermarket on the site and the arrival of Home Bargains it was a retail park, and expressed of the hope of attracting other businesses in the future.Home Bargains has a store at Burn Road in Cookstown and about 19 others scattered across Northern Ireland.Mr Forbes had been one of three developers planning to build supermarkets on ‘out of town’ sites in Magherafelt five years ago but was refused following a five-day appeal hearing.Mark H Durkan, the Environment Minister at the time, had ruled the foodstores would be “detrimental to businesses in the town centre”.Mr Forbes went on to submit a new planning application for his site.A spokesperson for the chain store said they don’t normally discuss new developments until near the date of the opening.She said: “As a result of our constant growth, we’re always looking for new stores and staff across the country. “While we don’t have any new stores in this area to announce at the moment, we’d encourage people to register on our jobs website (jobs.homebargains.co.uk) so we can contact them if roles become available in their region.”It is one of the most profitable retail companies in the UK and last year it opened 26 stores and repeated its stated goal of operating up to 1,000 outlets.According to the Financial Times, revenue at TJ Morris, the retailer’s Liverpool-based parent company, rose 15 per cent to £2.5bn in the year to June 2019, meaning sales have more than doubled since 2013. Profit after tax was £184m against £164m the previous year.“The increase means that in the past financial year, the purveyor of items ranging from Halloween costumes to Haribo sweets generated more profit than Harrods,” the paper reported.Work on the demolition of the former Forbes furniture store is taking place this week and then clearance of the ground down to the small stream bordering Polepatrick Park and Cemetery is expected to take place in coming weeks.In addition to the store, planning has been granted for car parking, landscaping and associated site works.Mr Forbes said Home Bargains in Cookstown was “very popular” with the shopping public and he expected the Magherafelt store to be the same.