As far as Belfast shoppers are concerned, it just wouldn’t be Christmas without a pair of pyjamas from Primark.
And, with that in mind, we’re giving you a sneak preview of some festive nightwear – plus other fashion favourites and household gems – hitting the shelves as the city’s new store finally opens today.
It has been three long months for fans of the Belfast outlet, which was gutted by fire at the end of August. But the wait is finally over and from today shoppers can stock up on their favourite Primark bargains again.
Now located at Commonwealth House on Castle Street, following the catastrophic three-day blaze at its flagship premises at Bank Buildings, the new four-floor shopping mecca, covering 26,700 sq ft, boasts two customer elevators, three sets of customer stairs, 22 tills and 31 fitting rooms.
It is a timely boost for Belfast’s retail sector on one of the busiest weekends in the calendar. Thousands of people are expected to throng the streets today as the pre-Christmas shopping rush continues.
The festive buzz has been heightened by the reopening of Primark, which can be accessed from the west side of the city centre.
And to celebrate, we’ve drawn up a list of some of the goodies that will be available in store to customers who venture into the city centre today.
If you’re out of ideas or just running late when it comes to acquiring the perfect outfit for the office party, there’s a black glitter jumpsuit that may be just the ticket for the feisty fashionista.
Team that up with a gorgeous pair of large black chain-wrapped hoop earrings, as well as a delightful gold bow clutch bag that will hold all your makeup essentials for the evening, and you’re definitely good to go.
It’s a mandatory component of every wardrobe, but have you got your Christmas jumper yet? If not, what about a red knitted seasonal offering bearing a red-nosed reindeer?
Keeping with the same theme, how about a red reindeer PJ-and-toy set – the top and bottoms are accompanied by a cuddly toy reindeer and they come in a festive gift box with a handle.
There’s a super red, green and white Grinch all-in-one sleepsuit for the reluctant festive revellers among us, not to mention a Mary Poppins snowglobe for aficionados of the Disney musical fantasy film.
Also up for grabs is a dapper Santa and snowman-print navy shirt, as well as a grey Christmas T-shirt and joggings set for a more casual look.
And for the ultimate stocking filler, we spotted a Mary Poppins money bank emblazoned with the words ‘practically perfect in every way’, which will help us start saving for next year’s extravagances.
Traders who were badly hit by the devasting fire, which started on August 28, are now gearing up for a boost in numbers from here on in.
Guineys, the Irish department store chain, is also open for the first time today, offering a timely fillip to the city centre ahead of Christmas.
The established retailer, specialising in homeware, menswear, womenswear and children’s clothing, will trade from the former BHS store site at Castle Place, just yards from the Bank Buildings cordon.
Earlier this week McDonald’s, Argento, Skechers and Spar all resumed trading, supplemented by a new temporary walkway reconnecting Royal Avenue to Donegall Place. Zara, Tesco Metro and British Heart Foundation remain closed, however, and are likely to stay that way until at least Easter.