Lifestyle retailer MINISO has revealed plans to open in three more locations by 2025 as part of a major expansion plan supported by Ulster Bank.
The news comes after MINISO opened its second NI store in Ballymena’s Tower Centre earlier this month following a six-figure investment creating 15 new jobs.
A design-led lifestyle retail store for all the family, MINISO offers a wide range of toys, tech, stationery, accessories, homeware, food and cosmetics at affordable prices, and enjoys exclusive partnerships with many well-loved brands such as Disney, Sanrio, We Bare Bears and more.
The Ballymena opening comes just four months after the retailer opened its first store in Northern Ireland in early May in Belfast’s CastleCourt shopping centre.
Local franchise owners Stuart Dixon and Trevor Finlay say it’s been an exciting journey introducing a new brand and retail concept to the local market.
“We believe the MINISO brand can help to revitalise the local retail space and the team at Ulster Bank have been really supportive of that vision. MINISO is a retail destination that strikes the right balance between offering the affordability and product range people want with a memorable consumer experience to drive return custom and footfall,” Trevor explains.
“The response to the opening of our Belfast branch was one of resounding success,” Stuart adds. “It has paved the way for the opening of our second store in Ballymena and given us the confidence to press forward with plans to expand the store network across Northern Ireland.”
With funding facilities provided by Ulster Bank, the franchisees plan to open three more stores across Northern Ireland by 2025, creating up to 45 new jobs.
Leona McNicholl, Senior Relationship Manager in Ulster Bank’s Commercial Banking team, says, “Stuart and Trevor have intimate knowledge of the retail sector in Northern Ireland and really understand the needs of the high street and shopping centre retailing. The launch of MINISO is testament to their foresight and drive in that the pair have identified a high-growth, fast-paced concept that is strongly suited to the market.”
Stuart continues, “When we first encountered the MINISO brand on a site visit to London we knew Northern Ireland needed this and the opening of our new Ballymena store just four months after first introducing the brand to the market demonstrates the appetite among consumers for something fresh. We’re fully committed to opening three more stores by 2025, but we see great growth potential beyond that too.”
The launch of the MINISO brand in Northern Ireland is not the duo’s first foray into the franchise business model.
Stuart and Trevor first met in 2007 when Stuart was a store manager for CeX – the UK’s largest second-hand electronics and entertainment specialist – and Trevor was exploring a franchise opportunity with the company.
With Stuart’s knowledge of the of the company alongside Trevor’s business acumen the pair would soon partner up and open their first joint venture in Derry~Londonderry.
Today, the business partners operate 10 CeX stores across Northern Ireland having most recently invested in a second Bangor store in Bloomfield shopping centre in July last year.