Multi million pound makeover for store

ONE of Ipswich town centre's most prominent department stores, is to get a multi-million pound makeover to take it into the 21st century.Debenhams on the Cornhill is currently undergoing a complete transformation which should bring the store bang up to date.

By Paul Geater

ONE of Ipswich town centre's most prominent department stores, is to get a multi-million pound makeover to take it into the 21st century.

Debenhams on the Cornhill is currently undergoing a complete transformation which should bring the store bang up to date.

The move has been seen by the Ipswich retail community as a major vote of confidence in the town centre.


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Details of the new development are to be unveiled by the Ipswich Partnership, which represents retailers and other town centre businesses, at a special presentation tomorrow .

"This is a very big development for the town, it is very good news. It is so major that in some ways it might be easier if Debenhams knocked down their existing store and started again," said Ipswich Partnership chairman Paul Clement.

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The floor space of the store will be increased substantially, with new departments being introduced.

The Ipswich store was originally Footmans before being taken over by the national department store chain in the late 1960s.

During the late 1970s the store was completely rebuilt, finally opening in its entirity in time for Christmas 1980.

Since then the basic layout of the store has remained basically unchanged as it has consolidated its position as the most prominent store in the town centre.

However it has seen the opening of two new shopping centres containing their own department stores – Littlewoods in Tower Ramparts and Allders in the Buttermarket.

And Marks and Spencer, a short distance away along Westgate Street, has also been transformed.

In the late 1980s there were plans for Debenhams to be incorporated into a massive new Crowgates development – but that scheme eventually came to nothing.

Shoppers in Debenhams have already been tantalised as areas of the store are sealed off with notices urging "no peeping" before the announcement is made.

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