New lease of life for former Woolies creates 40 jobs

Reporter:

Liam Randall

A DISCOUNT chain is set to breath new life into Wrexham’s former Woolworths store, creating 40 jobs.

Discount UK will take over the ground floor sales area of the Regent Street store which has been lying empty since Woolworths went into liquidation in January 2009.

Martyn Birks, marketing director of Discount UK, based in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, said fitting-out operations were going on at the moment with the aim of having the new store open for business at the end of next month.

Recruitment for the 40 full and part-time posts will begin within the next few weeks, he added.

On sale will be a range of discount goods ranging in price from 99p to £25, including DIY items, kitchenware, pet products, bedding and smaller electrical goods.

Mr Birks said: “We will be a modern-day Woolworths but with a better range and a more vibrant look.

“This will be the eighth store we have opened in the UK since the company was set up in October of last year and our first in Wales.

“We opened our first store in Leeds and we also now have them in Stevenage, Warrington, Middlesbrough and Northern Ireland.

“We intend to have at least 15 stores in the next couple of years.

“Our merchandising team will be going into the Wrexham store on July 22 and we will open soon after that.

“This is a very exciting prospect for us and we are looking forward to coming to Wrexham.”

The group has submitted a planning application to Wrexham Council for the installation of a new shop front and signage at the site.

However, news of the chain’s arrival has been greeted with mixed reactions by traders and members of the public.

Alex Jones, vice-chair of Wrexham’s Chamber of Trade and Commerce said: “On the one hand I think it’s great that we’re filling up an empty unit that has been an eyesore within the town for a while.

“However, the question is do we need another discount store in Wrexham?”

“You have to be careful that the town doesn’t get saturated by having too many of the same kind of store.

“All that will happen is that trade is taken from other discount stores which could potentially empty the town centre.”

Isobel Watson, town centre manager, said: “Responses have been generally positive in terms of it being quite a large space and it would be nice to have it filled again.

“Any movement given the current economic climate has got to be a good thing, and I’d include ‘pop-up’ shops in that.

“Any investment is also good – there’s a substantial investment put into this because Woolworths was stripped bare.”

She added that she thought there was too much negativity about Wrexham town centre.

“We should be talking it up instead,” she said.

See full story in the Leader

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