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Up-market clothing chain Jack Wills set to take over former Croydon’s store in Ipswich town centre

08:00 13 October 2015

The former Croydon

The former Croydon's store in Ipswich - set to become a Jack Wills store.

One of the best-known new clothing chains in Britain is set to take over the former Croydon’s store in Ipswich’s Tavern Street.

Jack Wills already has stores in Aldeburgh and Southwold, and is now preparing to move into Suffolk’s county town.

Styling itself as “University Outfitters” Jack Wills was founded in Salcombe in Devon in 1999 and has since expanded across the country – and abroad.

It’s classic clothing range is popular with young people who like its “Preppy” style – and it has been credited with re-igniting the “Yuppy” style over recent years.

It is understood that bosses from Jack Wills were keen to come to Ipswich – not known as an “up-market” town for retailing – because they saw the great potential with the changes being made to the town centre.

Officials from Ipswich Central and the borough council helped to persuade the company, which is now based in London, that the town would be a good place for it to open a store.

The company has still to formally sign the lease – but it is in talks with the borough council about changes to the building, including signs, and has started advertising for staff.

Ipswich Central chief executive Paul Clement said: “Jack Wills is one of the major retailing names not currently trading in Ipswich that we were very keen to attract to the town.

“I am absolutely delighted to hear that it is now planning to come to Ipswich. It is a real shot in the arm for the town and it indicates that top-end retailers now see that there is something really significant happening here.”

The news is a welcome boost for the town centre – it was seen as a big blow for Ipswich when it emerged that Next were moving out of its Westgate Street store.

Mr Clement remained confident that Next would return to the town centre in the near future: “I know they are looking at sites and I don’t think it will be long before we know where they will be moving.”

Ipswich MP Ben Gummer was delighted at the news: “It is very exciting that Jack Wills is coming to Ipswich. It shows the message is getting across that the town is somewhere that is very much improving.

“Great credit goes to Ipswich Central for putting together the vision for the town centre – and to the borough council for being prepared to look at implementing its proposals.”

Jack Wills is known for taking over old or landmark buildings in town centres – and their move into the former Croydon’s building is seen as a perfect fit.

Its long-term lease was bought by Tesco last year – but when the company decided against going ahead with a conversion it decided to re-sell the lease.

The building itself dates from the late 1920s, and is one of the best-known in the heart of Ipswich. After it ceased to be a jewellery store, it was taken over by Black’s outdoor store – but that closed in 2012 and it has been empty since then.

The news that Tesco was planning to move there did not go down well with many – but its conversion into a Jack Wills store is likely to meet with widespread approval.

In recent weeks Pandora has opened a store in the town and Poundworld has also moved in.

33 comments

  • I agree with Happy the world is changing, town centres are hanging due to the internet. Yes it is good that a shop unit has been filled, but I just can't see it taking off. £50. for a hoodie, that's just silly. Even a shop such as Coes can charge less than this. If someone is prepared to pay this sort of money, then why haven't they been shopping in Coes. To say there hasn't been a shop to get posh clothes is not exactly true.

    Report this comment

    colin

    Friday, October 16, 2015

  • The vision is still not there. Old style towns worked in the past before the internet but now things must change dramatically. The town centre should now be focused on entertainment and socialising. People do not go into town to shop any more, they do that online. I'm 36 and I have never heard of Jack Willis and I certainly will not be spending large sums for items I can get online for a third of the price. The only thing me and everyone else I know buy from a physical shop is food stuffs. Older members of the community who are in charge of improving the town need to remove the blinkers and realise the facts. This is the 21st Century!!

    Report this comment

    Happy

    Friday, October 16, 2015

  • I am thinking of opening a 50p shop; do you think it will work?

    Report this comment

    Johnthebap

    Friday, October 16, 2015

  • Good luck to the new tenants I say. Though I have to say this building is on my not loved list, it sits there pretending to be something it's not!!

    Report this comment

    richie w

    Thursday, October 15, 2015

  • How about a £1 betting shop?

    Report this comment

    richie w

    Thursday, October 15, 2015

  • Excellent news for the town and that lovely building in particular. hoping it will keep more money in ipswich and attract other new shops.

    Report this comment

    IpswichRessie

    Thursday, October 15, 2015

  • Excellent news, this might actually get me back into the town centre. When clothes shopping i always head for norwich but if a few more shops of this kind open up in ipswich i will definately be back. Anyone saying they have never heard of them or they are too expensive are not the people who wear their clothes. This will keep younger people shopping in ipswich or bring them back to the town. Fingers crossed Hollister and superdry follow suit!

    Report this comment

    moosey

    Wednesday, October 14, 2015

  • Waspie's wife..As a female...yes I'd like Zara and Mango. I'd like to have seen a bigger Marks and Spencer's. I like fashion. Ilike the Limited range as well as other bits. I might be an older female, but my family are grown, with family of their own and I can think a bit about me. I'd like to see any new buildings nod to the heritage of old buildings in the town. On market days I agree with the comment about often resembling a bad day in Kabul. We need a bit of class, we have plenty of cheapie shops, phone shops, betting shops. I'd quite like something like Dunelm in town. Just more to entice me in, so that it has a pleasanter feel. All the shops like Dunelm, Next for me to get to, involve a lot of travel and over the other side of Norwich Rd we have Asda, so a bit of George clothing, and I can't even get a bus straight up there. Ideal to go into town, when you are a one car household..not anymore.

    Report this comment

    waspie

    Wednesday, October 14, 2015

  • Their prices are not stupid, they relate to the quality of the clothes against that of primark and they will last much longer. And people now have room in their wardrobes for a mixture of brands and qualities. Just because you buy from primark doesn't mean you won't also shop here. The shop will survive and will attract people into the town. Hopefully other similar retailers will follow suit

    Report this comment

    Davin

    Tuesday, October 13, 2015

  • It is very good for the town that this shop has decided to give us a go, but I will be surprised if they are still there in 18months time. The prices advertised even in their sale are stupid, they only go up to size 16 in most of there ladies range, and of course there is nothing smart for the older lady. If young people can afford the prices they are asking, when they can get almost the same thing in Primark, Also M & S try and sell the up market item for the younger person, that didn't work either.

    Report this comment

    colin

    Tuesday, October 13, 2015

  • It's sad to see any business space in the town centre unoccupied. This is good news, and the old Croydons building is one of the most distinctive buildings on Tavern Street. Hopefully a decent number of jobs will result from Jack Wills opening up in Ipswich. Prior to reading this article I'd never heard of them, but one look at me would tell you that.

    Report this comment

    Suffolk Exile

    Tuesday, October 13, 2015

  • why do people moan so much? if you dont like it dont shop there. personally im pleased as i shop at jack wills and can now do so 5 minutes from my house. there is so much available in Ipswich that people dont see because they would rather complain. this is a step in the right direction.

    Report this comment

    Davin

    Tuesday, October 13, 2015

  • Excellent news! People will always moan about what shops should come here but this is a positive move for our Town, with Tiger, H&M, HMV, Pandora and yes Poundworld in the High Street, this should cater for most tastes. What shops do you want in Ipswich then guys? Zara? Where would you put it? Superdry? Jack Wills is better in my opinion. All we need is a nice cafe which sells most food at a good price.

    Report this comment

    kev70

    Tuesday, October 13, 2015

  • Good News at last

    Report this comment

    Poppys Dad

    Tuesday, October 13, 2015

  • So Ipswich Man, what do you want? To try to attract more upmarket stores, or to continue with the Pound shops, Charity shops, betting shops and mobile phone stores? Everyone (including me) have been moaning that Ipswich Town Centre resembles a bad day in Kabul for ages, now we have a chain willing to locate in Ipswich people are moaning about that too! Much much more needs to be done to the town centre, but at least this small step is one in the right direction. Much better to attempt thi,s than a discount £1 or 99p shop.

    Report this comment

    england1770

    Tuesday, October 13, 2015

  • Looking at the comments and some research I hope it's not a decision the company will regret.

    Report this comment

    Transol

    Tuesday, October 13, 2015

  • Some of the people on here are incredible, why bother posting such negative comments , it's absolutely fantastic news that Jack Wills are coming ,and if you have never heard of them , where the hell have you been !

    Report this comment

    Cooper442

    Tuesday, October 13, 2015

  • I've also never heard of them, but I think that say's more about me...I'd never heard of Tiger but I love it! Anything is better than an empty shop and out of date circus posters.

    Report this comment

    ElaineD17

    Tuesday, October 13, 2015

  • Comments on here make me laugh, 90% of the time people are moaning about the low priced cheap shops going in, yet a decent shop offering pricer items gets panned for being too preppy and posh. No wonder the retailers don't want to come to this town when the locals moan whatever shop comes in. I'd like to seriously know who people would want in the old Croydons building? Because when Tesco's were planning everyone was moaning, then when they decided against it everyone moaned saying it will probably be a pound shop or a betting shop and now people are moaning saying they have never heard of them and they are too posh! You couldn't make it up!

    Report this comment

    Tedbundy

    Tuesday, October 13, 2015

  • As soon as I saw the headline I knew the comment section would be full of negativity! However this is the much vaunted major boost that the town centre needs, I have always said that once one quality store arrives others will follow. The likes of Tiger and Jack Wills are major high street names, they don't just set up willy nilly in the hope that things will work out, they carry out research to give themselves the best chance of succeeding. Also, contrary to the assertions of some, I recently bought a jacket in Ipswich for over £100, and a pair of shoes for £75 for that matter. I don't enjoy shopping enough to drive for miles to get what I can in my home town!

    Report this comment

    buster

    Tuesday, October 13, 2015

  • If the photo of some of their clothes published in today's EADT is anything to go by, "up-market" is a very odd word to use for them. It just looks like the sort of scruffy stuff Ed Sheeran would wear.

    Report this comment

    beerlover

    Tuesday, October 13, 2015

  • Sorry it's not going to work. Ipswich has become a cheap and nasty shop location. Why come to Ipswich to buy jackets over £100. People dont come here for that. On Ipswich Buses there are adverts to shop in Norwich. People here don't shop here.

    Report this comment

    Ipswich Man

    Tuesday, October 13, 2015

  • I've never heard of them....As a female I'm not a yuppy type or a preppy type. If they are a big name and bring shops in like Mango and Zara and a nice homeware shop, then fine. It's a wonderful building of heritage and that's the look we should be going for.

    Report this comment

    waspie

    Tuesday, October 13, 2015

  • Great news but we need more exciting shops to compete with Bury and Norwich!

    Report this comment

    Anaick Sharpe

    Tuesday, October 13, 2015

  • Bit surprised as this company failed to float on the stock market recently and have been in the red this year , a major overhaul at the top and closed some stores in london to relocate to university towns...good luck in Ipswich.

    Report this comment

    deeber

    Tuesday, October 13, 2015

  • I'm all for bashing the people in charge of the town centre, however on this occasion I'm astounded they have got Jack Wills going in, they historically wouldn't touch a town like Ipswich with a bargepole so it is quite a coup they have got them in. Also, if they have decided to move in then it my then tip other decent retailers to now jump on board. Anyone moaning and saying they have never heard of them, you need to understand that not all shops are catered for you. I hate to break it to you, but Fosters ain't coming back.

    Report this comment

    Tedbundy

    Tuesday, October 13, 2015

  • Ancient building Caldene Boy ? just goes to show what you know about Ipswich when you come on here and spew your bile,it was built in the 1920s...hardly ancient is it ?

    Report this comment

    mouton1983

    Tuesday, October 13, 2015

  • Like Suffolk Boy I have also been critical of those responsible for the state of Ipswich town centre, and equally feel this is a step in the right direction, lets hope it keeps moving forward. Also to prove to certain journalists at the paper that we aren't all negative "trolls" I would like to congratulate those that secured the deal.

    Report this comment

    england1770

    Tuesday, October 13, 2015

  • I am suitably impressed... Good news.

    Report this comment

    Sentinel Red

    Tuesday, October 13, 2015

  • "Never heard of them….." Somehow I think you may not be their target customer. Definitely good news for the town centre and also good to see Tiger in the centre too, they may focus on cheap items but have a much more upmarket vibe than tat stores like Poundland etc. ( they already have stores in Brighton and Richmond upon Thames)

    Report this comment

    BoBoBolinski

    Tuesday, October 13, 2015

  • I've been quick to criticise in the past, but well done Ipswich Central, this is a big step forward - these guys are a fairly clued up bunch and from their very beginning seem to have identified trends and locations on the up a year or two before anyone else. Their growth has been phenomenal in recent years, even through the recession. More of the same please.

    Report this comment

    Suffolk Boy

    Tuesday, October 13, 2015

  • I expect that University Outfitters will occupy this presently redundant store for a maximum of twelve months before they consider the site to be no longer commercially viable. Why doesn't one of the mainstream bookmakers take over this historical and ancient building thereby securing its long-term future? This is what Ipswich's town centre really needs. More betting shops and or one pound stores.

    Report this comment

    Caldene Boy

    Tuesday, October 13, 2015

  • Never heard of them.....

    Report this comment

    Captain Slog

    Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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