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Developer buys CastleCourt for £125m

Credit: Press Eye

CastleCourt shopping centre in Belfast has been bought by developers for £125 million.

Co Down investment group Wirefox purchased the city centre complex from Hermes Investment Management in one of the biggest commercial property deals in Northern Ireland.

Wirefox, based in Holywood, said it plans significant capital expenditure in the 365,000 sq ft centre.

The company is headed by BJ Eastwood, the grandson of well-known bookmaker Barney Eastwood.

Ben Turtle, from Savills, who will manage the property said, "Despite the shock of Brexit and ongoing political uncertainty, the retail sector in Northern Ireland continues to perform strongly, with positive retailer performances and robust letting activity.

"With consumer confidence at its highest level since the third quarter of 2015, and the economy expected to grow at a faster rate than previously predicted, we expect Wirefox to reap the benefits of this high-profile acquisition."

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Number of people on unemployment benefits continues to fall

There are 300 fewer people claiming unemployment related benefits in Northern Ireland.

There were 31,200 claimants in May 2017, according to the latest labour market figures.

The latest Northern Ireland unemployment rate of 5.4% for February - April is down slightly from the previous quarter.

The rate is above the UK average of 4.6% but below the European Union rate (8.0%) and Republic of Ireland (6.4%) rate for March 2017.

The Department for the Economy says the latest statistics reflect a continuation of recent trends in terms of steady or falling unemployment, growth in private sector jobs and increasing output.

However the falling unemployment rate has also been accompanied by a fall in the employment rate and an increase in economic inactivity.

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