Posted on Wednesday 15 October 2014 by Ulster Business

Tesco to open new banbridge store

Tesco Bridgewater Park manager Stephen Magill

Tesco will open its newest Northern Ireland store tomorrow (Thursday October 16) as an investigation into the supermarket giant’s accounting practises continues.

The £38m Bridgewater Park store - adjacent to The Outlet shopping mall - stretches to 63,500 square feet and will create 252 new jobs and see the relocation of 78 staff from other sites.

The store opening comes in the same week three senior managers at Tesco were asked to step aside to help auditors to investigate the overstatement of profits in the supermarket’s food division.

It suspended four executives last month after revealing it had overstated its first half profit forecast by £250m.

Despite the turmoil, the supermarket has launched its new store with gusto, focusing on the new jobs, the £38m investment and the 648 free car parking spaces.

It won a hard fought battle with local traders in Banbridge to win planning permission for the new site which was granted in 2011 and is doing its best to win over the surrounding community by building a “community room” manned by a “Community Space Champion”.

David McKay is the first to take up the role which will involve liaising with “local groups, associations and charities, supporting and facilitating them in the use of the furnished Community Room”.

It has also pledged to support local food and drink producers with a Tesco Local Market planned at Bridgewater Park on October 25 when 20 local firms will be showcasing their produce. It’s not clear whether the market will be repeated.

Tesco Bridgewater Park manager Stephen Magill said there is local demand for the store.

"People in Banbridge have been very supportive of this venture. It is what they wanted and we believe the demand is definitely there for this new store,” he said.

Tesco said its existing store on the Castlewellan Road in the town will remain open for at least 10 years.

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