Will Ipswich Debenhams sale herald reopening of former BHS?

Former BHS in Ipswich

Sports Direct is expected to move into the former BHS store in the Butter Market street in Ipswich later this year. - Credit: Paul Geater

News that Ipswich's Debenhams store has been bought by developers expected to find a new use for it has boosted hopes that the former BHS in the Butter Market will reopen later this year.

The BHS building has been bought by Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley and is expected to be fitted out in the summer. Structural alterations to the building were carried out last autumn.

Ipswich Central chief executive Paul Clement said there had been fears Mr Ashley could have swooped in and bought the Debenhams store and leave the former BHS - which has been empty since 2016 - unoccupied.

Mr Clement said: "Hopefully we will get the best of both worlds now - a high quality redevelopment of the Debenhams store and a new use for the old BHS store. That would be a win-win for the town."

The new store in the Butter Market is expected to be completed and open for business later in the year. As well as Sports Direct, it will also have space for Mr Ashley's Flannels and USC brands. There is also speculation that it could stock clothes from his Jack Wills range after its standalone shop in Tavern Street closed last year.

The Carr Street Sports Direct store is expected to close when the former BHS reopens.

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