Belfast jewellery and watch retailer Argento has revealed ambitious plans to open seven new stores in Northern Ireland and Scotland, creating at least 50 new jobs.
The plans are part of a major £1 million investment programme by the retailer in a bid to increase its brand presence in key, high footfall areas, and to enhance its customers’ shopping experience.
The new stores will bring the total number of outlets under the Argento ownership to almost 50 and will create at least 50 new jobs.
Argento chief executive Pete Boyle said of the expansion plans: “We are really pleased to be able confirm plans to extend our unique, quality jewellery offering to even more customers across Northern Ireland and Scotland by opening seven new Argento and Pandora stores in key areas where we see further growth opportunity.”
The Belfast-based company sells watches from Bering, Juicy Couture, Thomas Sabo, Louis Thompson, ToyWatch, Hugo Boss, Olivia Burton and Ice.
It will open four of the new stores in Northern Ireland in locations in Belfast and Portadown, while the remaining three stores in Scotland include Inverness and Stirling, and a recently-opened branch in Dundee.
Boyle continued: "This latest investment provides us with an important opportunity to increase our brand presence and customer base in a series of new, strategic locations and delivers on our commitment to assist in the revitalisation of the high street and in the development of the main trading areas of our towns and cities."
Argento was established in 1997, growing its presence on the high street and shopping centres in Ireland, as well as online. As well as continuing the roll out of its new store design, as launched in 2013, Argento also plans to further invest in growing its online presence to accelerate web-based sales.
Boyle added: “This £1 million expansion programme not only underlines the confidence and support we have for our traditional in-store customers and our commitment to investing in the high street, it also shows that we are particularly keen to drive even more growth online.”
The new stores will be open-plan in style with traditional red Belfast brick feature walls, contemporary wooden floors and feature cabinets in a statement yellow hue, chosen to mimic the colour of the Harland and Wolff cranes, Samson and Goliath, that dominate the Belfast skyline.