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Last Updated: Monday, 10 October 2005, 11:07 GMT 12:07 UK
Asda opens first NI supermarkets
Asda supermarket trolleys
Asda has opened its first NI supermarkets
Supermarket chain Asda has opened its first Northern Ireland stores.

Shops are opening in Bangor, Coleraine, Cookstown and Ballyclare this week, while a shop in Strabane will open at the end of October.

The new store in Coleraine is creating a further 60 jobs, bringing the total number of people employed at the outlet to 245.

It is the first phase of a 30m investment in 12 former Safeways stores throughout Northern Ireland.

Asda spokesman Chris Brown said the stores would have 30% more local products on their shelves than they did when they closed.

He also said that Northern Ireland customers would not be asked to pay more than people in Great Britain at the petrol forecourts.

The other eight Asda supermarkets will be opened by the beginning of December.

DUP North Down assembly member Peter Weir welcomed the opening of the stores.

"Northern Ireland is now home to the first, second and third largest grocery retailers, which can only benefit local consumers," he said.

"ASDA already has an existing local buying policy and relationships with NI suppliers, and I would encourage them to continue to develop this."

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