The management of Portadown’s High Street Mall believes that the opening of a new InterSport outlet has turned around the fortunes of the shopping centre.
The locally-owned firm – which set up shop at the large former Internacionale unit last Friday morning – is one of a number of developments anticipated within the next few weeks.
Tracey Jackson, the centre manager, confirmed that the greetings card firm Card Land are moving into the former Vodafone premises next door to InterSport and that “a significant multinational” has booked the former Mothercare shop in the main square of the mall.
In the meantime, a craft market is operation in the Mothercare premises from now until Christmas (mainly at weekends), after which the new company will move in.
Ms Jackson added, “I am informed that Dunnes – who closed their grocery department a few weeks ago – are trading really well in their clothing end.”
Dunnes, though, have closed their café which came as something of a shock, as the original plan was to keep it.
Meanwhile, Padraic McKeever, proprietor of InterSport, is delighted at the trade and the reaction since it opened for business on Friday.
“It seems that the people of Portadown are delighted to welcome a large sports outlet,” he said.
“We cater for the sports sector as well as leisure and have most of the main brands like Nike, Adidas, Puma and all the rest.
“We also stock all the main replica ‘tops’ – like the Premiership teams. And we cater for everything from hockey to GAA and rugby. We also have services for local clubs of every description and we are delighted to be established in Portadown.”
Padraic is a member of the respected extended McKeever family in Portadown, and also has an Inter Sport store on the GilpinstownRoad in Lurgan which is thriving.
Although he is independent, he is part of the all-Ireland Sports Merchandising Ireland which unites for buying power at the right price.
Card Land, meanwhile, is an Irvine (Ayrshire) based company which has a number of outlets in Scotland and several in Northern Ireland and one in Donegal.
In Northern Ireland they include several in Belfast and in towns like Antrim, Ballymoney, Lisburn and Strabane (about a dozen in all) and there are international outlets in places like Gibraltar and in Spanish holiday reports.
Said Tracey Jackson, “The new owners of the mall have been working hard to fill the vacant units and this is just the beginning.”