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Primark starts work on extending Ipswich store while Yippee! It's 99p prepares to leave the town

PUBLISHED: 14:38 22 April 2015 | UPDATED: 14:38 22 April 2015

The former GAP store in Westgate Street, Ipswich which is to be an extension to the Primark store next door.

The former GAP store in Westgate Street, Ipswich which is to be an extension to the Primark store next door.

Work has begun on expanding Ipswich's Primark store into the former Gap unit next door.

The former GAP store in Westgate Street, Ipswich which is to be an extension to the Primark store next door.The former GAP store in Westgate Street, Ipswich which is to be an extension to the Primark store next door.

Staff at Gap had been told Primark would be taking over their unit when it closed in January, but at the time the company said it would not comment on speculation.

Now work has started on the conversion of the unit and doubling the size of the town’s Primark store.

It is expected the expanded store will be completed in a similar style to its flagship store on the High Chelmer retail park in Chelmsford.

Carole Jones, Ipswich Borough Council’s portfolio holder for economic development, said: “I am pleased to hear that Primark is giving the town centre a vote of confidence like this.

“But I was disappointed when Gap closed. I think it is clearly better to have a large store like this rather than having another empty unit – but I would like to see more choice in the town centre.”

A spokeswoman for Primark said the company was not yet able to give an opening date for the enlarged store – however contractors are currently on site and it is expected that the enlarged store will be trading by the late summer.

Meanwhile a bargain basement store in the centre of Ipswich has slashed its prices in half to sell out its stock before closing up shop.

Yippee! It’s 99p will maintain in its Carr Street location until its landlord finds new tenants for the premises.

At that point, Dennis Davis, managing director of Yippee, said he planned to move the shop’s craft and coffee shop to a different location in the town.

The shop is offering all its products for 50p and once they all sell out, Mr Davis said he would continue to run the craft and coffee shop until moving day, which could be anything from two weeks, six months or a year.

“We are not going bust, but things have been getting quieter and quieter and it seems like a lot more hard work,” Mr Davis added.

“To be honest, it’s time for us to move on to other things, we have had a great time here.”

The store, which opened in January 2013, was put under pressure in October 2014 when a third discount shop, 99p Stores, opened in addition to a Poundland already in the area.

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