Ipswich: Clothing chain to invest millions in flagship store in massive boost for town

IPSWICH: A flagship store is set for the first phase of a major, multi-million pound facelift in the New Year.

Family-run clothing outlet Coes has decided to press ahead with an ambitious redevelopment of its Ipswich outlet, in spite of the tough economic conditions.

The decision, taken a year after the plans were temporarily shelved following the fallout from the worldwide credit crunch, will be a boost to the local economy and underlines the business’s faith in the town’s future.

During the first phase, work will be carried out to enable a third floor – likely to follow in two or three years’ time – to be added to the building front in Norwich Road in line with other parts of the building.

The first phase, costing around �700,000 in total, is aimed at giving the store greater street appeal, and an internal refurbishment making maximum use of the space available. Many of its existing departments will be refurbished and upgraded during the redevelopment, which starts in January and should be completed around June of next year.

Phase two, costing �1million-plus, will significantly expand the floor space, creating 40,000sq ft of space over three floors.

The work, which already has planning permission, is being split to minimise the disruption caused.

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William Coe, the third generation of the family to run the store, believes the changes, which follow major works back in 2002, will create a striking landmark building for the town.

The addition of a womenswear department to Coes in 2002 has transformed the business, which specialises in a number of areas, including a sports shop, formal men’s attire, and evening and wedding wear.

Mr Coe said: “It will make the shop more attractive, the internal refurbishment will make it easier to shop. You have got to continue to invest in your business. We have held back because of the climate, but we now feel the time is right to move forward with our business.

“I want our shop to be a landmark building within the town and I think this design will allow that to happen easily.”

Mr Coe, who is chairman of Ipswich Central, is positive about the future, and believes Ipswich has a bright future, with more and better retailers coming to the town.

The Evening Star’s Fightback Campaign supports local businesses which are hitting back despite the difficult economic situation.

n Do you think Ipswich’s retail future is looking bright? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@evening star.co.uk