AN incredible 750 people are chasing just 20 jobs at a new store in Wrexham.
Discount retailer, the QD Stores Group, said it was ‘overwhelmed’ by the number of applicants at the store, which will open in the former Marks & Spencer store in Hope Street next month.
QD staff were at the nearby Wynnstay Hotel yesterday to hand out application forms to people hoping to land one of the jobs up for grabs.
Interviews for the positions – both full and part-time on the shop floor, in the stockroom and supervisory – are being held at the hotel today and tomorrow.
A company spokesman said by the early evening an amazing 750 people had turned up asking for forms, which gives them just a one-in-35 chance of landing a place at the store in time for its opening on May 25.
QD says it is opening the new store as part of its continuing expansion programme.
Following a major refurbishment of the premises, vacated by M&S late in 2008 when it moved to Eagles Meadow, the QD operation will stock a wide range of products, including homeware and clothing, at what the company says will be “extremely competitive prices”.
Marketing operations manager of QD, Alan Hatcher, said: “It’s been a fantastic response in Wrexham.
“We have been overwhelmed by the sheer number of applicants and the high calibre of the applicants.
“We have seen similar scenes at the recruitments days at other stores including Boston in Lincolnshire and Wellingborough in Northamptonshire.
“In both cases the sheer number of applicants made national television.”
A recent finalist in the Oracle Retail Week Awards for 2010, QD, which also owns the Cherry Lane chain of garden centres in Norfolk, Suffolk and Yorkshire, was selected by a panel of industry experts as ‘Emerging Retailer of the Year’.
Ten new high street stores have been opened by the group over the past 12 months and more are planned this year, with a view to increasing the number of outlets to 50 across the UK.
With a trading floor of 19,000 square feet, the new Wrexham store will stock homeware, fashion for all the family and DIY essentials, along with basic food items such as coffee, tea and sugar.
QD’s marketing operations manager, Alan Hatcher, said: “Following each of our new store openings, experience shows the presence of a QD store on the high street has greatly increased trade across the entire town centre and I’m sure Wrexham will prove to be no exception.
“Wrexham is an important location for a regional flagship store as it serves a wide geographical area.
“We’re delighted to be introducing the QD brand and our unique blend of high quality and great value, to a new customer base.
“Although local people may not be familiar with QD at present, they will soon discover our shopping concept is all about offering customers an up-market shopping experience.”
Cllr Rodney Skelland, Wrexham Council’s lead member for regeneration and corporate governance, said: “We’re always delighted to hear about businesses investing in Wrexham and the new QD store will create jobs and offer even more choice for shoppers in the town.
“Although the council only has limited influence in attracting new businesses to commercially owned, empty retail units in the town centre, it's good to know this important premises is being filled by a well-established business group like QD.”
The group currently employs more than 1,000 staff throughout its nationwide chain of high street shops, Cherry Lane garden centres, Buyright superstore in Suffolk, and specialist fishing outlet, Lathams, on the Norfolk Broads.