Belfast-based jewellery chain Argento has announced a £1m investment plan that will include seven new shop openings in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and Scotland.
The new premises are part of the company’s strategy to increase its representation in high-footfall locations, and will mean 50 new jobs are created across the new geographies.
The chain, which was founded in 1997 and already comprises more than 40 stores, is planning four shops for Belfast and Portadown, and three for Scotland’s Stirling and Inverness. The £1m pot will be shared between the new openings and a series of renovations, starting with the company’s original Royal Avenue outlet in Belfast.
Founder and managing director, Pete Boyle, said: “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.”
Boyle pointed to his own vision for breathing new life into the traditional bricks-and-mortar retail business model, saying: “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’s newly conceived store designs, introduced last year, will be rolled out as default for the new crop of outlets. The design draws on the heritage of Northern Ireland, using traditional red Belfast brick feature walls and wooden floors reconstructed from old gym and dance halls.
Boyle is a former Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award winner, taking home the gong in 2011 for the rapid growth of his business.