Jobs boost expected from new store

DOZENS of jobs are set to be created in the town centre when a new department store chain moves in to replace Ipswich's closed Allders store.A major discount department store chain has agreed a deal with managers of the Buttermarket Shopping Centre to occupy the now vacant Allders premises.

DOZENS of jobs are set to be created in the town centre when a new department store chain moves in to replace Ipswich's closed Allders store.

A major discount department store chain has agreed a deal with managers of the Buttermarket Shopping Centre to occupy the now vacant Allders premises.

The deal, which is on the verge of being finalised by solicitors, will see the chain take over a 110,000 sq ft store in the centre.

It will lead to the employment of a new Ipswich workforce for the as-yet-unnamed company and could see the new store opened by Easter next year.

Buttermarket centre manager Colin Roberts told The Evening Star: "We are now in intense negotiations with a tenant to take the Allders store.

"An offer has been made and it has been accepted.

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"It's a department store which will be new to the town. The public of Ipswich will love it."

Final legal details of the deal are still being dealt with so the identity of the company which has accepted the tenancy has not yet been revealed but the chain is being described as a "value department store".

It is considered a household name in the north of England and also has stores in Essex, Sussex and the outer areas of London.

Mr Roberts said: "It is a name that is very well known.

"It is a superb value retailer. They're nowhere in East Anglia – it's completely new.

"Mr and Mrs Ipswich will absolutely love it."

Speculation in retail circles suggested Liverpool-based discount department store chain TJ Hughes was a frontrunner for the tenancy but the company today distanced itself from talks of a deal.

TJ Hughes' property director Richard Foggin said the company had a requirement for a store in Ipswich in the same way it was interested in opening stores in other towns but he added the chain was not in talks over the Buttermarket site.

News of a deal to fill the gap left by Allders is a major boost for the Buttermarket, which was devastated to lose its biggest and best-known tenant in March when the financially troubled chain went into administration.

Up to 250 people lost their jobs and it was unclear how long it would take for the centre to find a new tenant for such a large retail unit.

In the end the Buttermarket management had two offers to choose from and Mr Roberts said they were extremely happy with the choice of the new tenant.

He said: "We had two firm offers and also one very large expression of interest.

"It will be a jobs boost to the retail scene."

Centre management hope to hand over the unit to the chosen company in January and the new store is likely to be open by Easter next year.

N What do you think? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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