RETAIL giants TK Maxx and Sports Direct have signed a combined 25-year lease to set up shop in Chester’s main shopping centre.
Worth £5million, the development will see the Paddock Row area of the Grosvenor Shopping Centre transformed by 2015.
As revealed in yesterday’s Leader, construction company Pochin will be carrying out the work, converting 14 empty units into two large ones. The company will be employing 150 people on site.
A new 23,000 sq ft store for TK Maxx will be created together with an entrance leading to a newly created retail space on the first floor for Sports Direct, measuring 16,500 sq ft.
Cut-price designer labels store TK Maxx has signed up for 15 years, while Sports Direct have taken on a 10-year lease.
Roger Gorham, director of the shopping centre’s co-owners Bride Hall, said the news marked a huge boost for the city’s economy.
He said: “We’re absolutely delighted that many months of negotiation with these two massive retailers have finally been concluded and that we can now announce this great news for Chester and for the Grosvenor Shopping Centre.
“To be able to welcome these brands at a time when there are still challenging trading conditions is fantastic news for Chester and a real boost to its credibility and profile.
“This development will deliver more choice for visitors and residents alike and that’s great news. It will also bring the centre’s occupation level to over 90 per cent.”
With a large number of buses already stopping at the Pepper Street entrance, footfall levels will increase with the introduction of the two new retailers, benefiting not just existing stores in the shopping centre, but also those throughout the city centre.
Tony Kay, owner at Kay the Jewellers in the centre said: “This development will undoubtedly further strengthen the city centre retail offer for shoppers. We’re really excited.
“The redesign is dynamic and refreshing and will help make the centre an even more enjoyable environment for visitors.
CEO of Marketing Cheshire, Katrina Michel, said: “A great vote of confidence in Chester as a shopping destination and great news for lovers of fashion and sport.
“Can’t wait to experience the two new stores!”