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Original Factory Shop to open nine stores in Northern Ireland

The Original Factory Shop is ramping up its presence in Northern Ireland and plans to open nine stores there in the next two years.

The discount retailer already has three shops in the region. The first opened in Bangor more than three years ago. It was followed by stores in Omagh and Dungannon last year. It is now targeting the Republic of Ireland as a new market.

Chief executive George Foster said: “Northern Ireland is very buoyant, more so than the UK. We’re extremely positive – we’re building up to 12 stores in the next two to three years.”

Foster said like-for-like sales at the Bangor store were on target to finish more than 10% ahead for the year to March 31. He said 2008 would be tough for retailers, but added that The Original Factory Shop would benefit from an increase in store availability because of fallout from the consumer downturn.

By the end of April the chain will have 87 stores in the UK, and plans to open 15 to 20 stores a year for the next three years.

Foster added: “Our strategy is to acquire properties of between 8,000sq ft and 15,000sq ft. We trade well from both high street and out-of-town locations.”

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