A department store which closed in 2011 has made its return to Preston city centre.Advertisement
As revealed on Blog Preston the discount retailer TJ Hughes has gone back to where it began at the Fishergate Shopping Centre.
British Town Crier Peter Taunton joined staff and customers at the store to cut the ribbon as it was declared open.
The retailer quit Preston after falling into administration but since being bought by Lewis’ Home Retail it has begun expanding again.
Managing director Anil Juneja said: “It’s fantastic news for the city and the local economy. We’re really looking forward to seeing people back in the store.”
The old TJ Hughes store had been due to see conversion into a new multi-screen cinema as part of a £40m redevelopment of the shopping centre.
But the plans were mothballed after Preston City Council indicated it would reject the Fishergate plans – and Vue Cinemas pulled out, deciding to remain at the Capitol Centre.
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Fishergate Shopping Centre manager Keith Mitchell said: “It is fantastic to see the doors re-open at TJ Hughes and the enthusiasm from shoppers over the store’s welcome return to Preston city centre.
“Staff at TJ Hughes have worked incredibly hard to get the store ready for trading and they have created something really special. The outlet looks tremendous.
“The opening of TJ Hughes increases the choice for city centre shoppers and is another sign of the confidence that exists in Preston city centre today. Add to that the jobs it has created and this is good news all round.”
60 jobs have been created by the return of TJ Hughes and the store has been refurbished.
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Regional store manager Harry Panayi said: “We’ve been hard at work for the past three weeks preparing for this moment.
“It’s really great to see it all come together and we are amazingly happy to be back in in Preston.”
Among the first to visit the store was the winner of the FSC’s ‘Shopping Spree’ competition which took place on social media to mark TJ Hughes’ return.
Student Alexandra Swannell, 25, from Ribbleton, Preston, nominated her best friend from Leigh-Anne Heaps, 25, also from Ribbleton, to join her on the spree – and they were both given £100 to spend in the store.
Alexandra said: “I’d no hesitation at all in nominating Leigh-Anne we’ve been mates for so long.
“I was amazed when I heard that I’d won. I’ve never won anything at all before. It was a nice surprise and really well-timed for Christmas!”
Will you be shopping at TJ Hughes? Been in yet? Let us know in the comments below