Boost for Ipswich town centre as Tessuti brings its fashions to the south
PUBLISHED: 23:04 27 September 2017 | UPDATED: 12:46 29 September 2017
The former Next store in Ipswich's Westgate Street is to become a new branch for growing fashion chain Tessuti.
The store, which sells premium brand fashion, is currently fitting out the store and it is expected to open within the next few weeks, certainly in time for the main Christmas shopping period.
Tessuti has a number of stores across the north of England and the midlands – it is represented in major shopping centres like Gateshead’s Metro Centre and the Trafford Centre in Greater Manchester.
It has stores in midlands cities like Derby and Coventry – but until now its only outlet in the south of England was at the huge Bluewater Shopping Centre in Kent.
It sells a range of clothes with designer Labels including Armani, Barbour, Ralph Lauren Polo, Boss, and Paul Smith.
It is part of the JD Sport retail group which includes Blacks and Millets as well as the sports stores on the country’s high streets.
Posters in the window of the Westgate Street store invite prospective employees to apply for jobs in the new store.
The unit has been closed since Next pulled out of Ipswich town centre two years ago – except for a few weeks last Christmas when it was opened as a seasonal stored.
The reopening is a major boost to that part of Westgate Street which is also home to Marks and Spencer and Monsoon.
The new arrival was welcomed by Ipswich council deputy leader Bryony Rudkin: “It is great to see another retailer coming into the town centre and improving the choice for shoppers.”
Ipswich Central chairman Terry Baxter said the arrival of Tessuti showed that the town could attract premium brands – despite some claims that only budget retailers were interested in the heart of Ipswich.
He said: “If you look at what Tessuti offers, it is big-name up-market brands. It shows that after Jack Wills and Joules coming to the town that major retailers are now looking at Ipswich.
“It will be a great addition to the mix of stores in the town and it is good to see such a prominent store coming back into use after it has been empty for some time.”
Mr Baxter said Tessuti was expected to be open well before Christmas – improving the general offer to shoppers in the town during the busiest time of the year for retailers.
Tessuti just the latest up-market store for Ipswich town centre
The opening of the new Tessuti store is seen as a vote of confidence in Ipswich town centre’s ability to attract relatively affluent shoppers.
Selling high-value brands including Vivien Westwood and Paul Smith labels, Tessuti follows on from stores like Jack Wills, Joules, Pandora and Swarovski which have arrived in the town over the last two years.
For a few years critics claimed the town centre was being filled with pound shops and other discount retailers .
While several have moved in, the recent trend has certainly been for more high-value names.
Now bosses at Ipswich Central and at the borough council will be hoping for more new names to move in. Pret a Manger has been advertising for staff for a branch in the town – although the company has not said where it hopes to open.
And there are reports that a bank wants to move into the former Grimwades store on the Cornhill.