“The highest unemployment in the province is among 18 to 25 year olds and Tesco is committed to giving young people an opportunity to get into a retail environment and stimulate youth employment.” Stephen Magill, Tesco Extra Newry Manager.
Tesco Newry Extra which opened its doors to the public last Thursday (6 June) is the market-leader’s third largest store in the province. The new store brings 330 new jobs to Newry – which is one of Northern Ireland’s darkest unemployment black spots – and is expected to signal a re-emergence of cross-border trade into the city. The 63,000 sq ft high spec store, which will be the first in Northern Ireland to feature a new F&F clothing collection, represents a multi-million pound investment in the city. There will also be 600 free car parking spaces, health and beauty lines, an opticians, free wifi and a cafe in-store at the Downshire Road site.
Recent government figures have shown that Newry and Mourne is one of the province’s unemployment black spots with 3,625 people out of work, and the number of new jobs created has reduced in the last year. Tesco’s new store will therefore provide an additional financial boost to the city centre with hundreds of thousands of pounds generated in terms of wages to Tesco employees being injected into the local economy.
Tesco Newry Extra Manager, Stephen Magill said: “We are all very excited. The store is looking fabulous, and there is nothing else quite like this in Northern Ireland or the Republic. It is the best Tesco I have ever seen in 20 years of working for the company.”
Tesco is also set to roll out its online delivery service a few weeks after opening to bring convenience and choice to shoppers. The 330 jobs will include 34 temporary employees who will have the chance to become full-time. A number of existing Tesco employees who live in Newry are transferring to the new store, enabling them to work closer to home.
Tesco Newry Extra is also the first store in Northern Ireland to hire eight long-term unemployed young people from the Youth Employment Scheme (YES) with the prospect of a job. The young people, who are all aged under 25, will take part in a four-week training programme at Tesco which could secure them a post at the end of the scheme.
Mr Magill explained: “The highest unemployment in the province is among 18 to 25 year olds and Tesco is committed to giving young people an opportunity to get into a retail environment and stimulate youth employment.”
Tesco has also appointed 28-year-old Shelagh Smyth from Annalong as its Community Champion. She will act as a Tesco ambassador by forging important links with the community.
Schools, youth clubs, charities and pensioners groups can all benefit from the Community Champion’s role who can help with everything from fundraising to providing space in the superstore for groups to hold their meetings.
Shelagh said: “I can help people with publicity or organise bag packing. This allows charities and other groups to gain exposure to the huge number of customers who come here to shop. There is also free advertising on our Community Board. I believe it is important that Tesco as a large company coming into Newry shows from the beginning that what we are going to do will make a lasting contribution for the community we are serving.”
Tesco is also expected to reveal plans shortly for a major new initiative aimed at offering local Newry artisan companies an opportunity to showcase their products in the new store as part of its commitment to promoting the sales of local food and drink.