Staff who lost their jobs when Dereham’s Peacocks store closed in February had a lucky Friday 13th when it was reopened by its new owners.

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About eight former members of staff returned to their old jobs to hand out balloons and welcome customers when the stop resumed trading at 11am today, Friday, after new owners Edinburgh Woollen Mill reportedly renegotiated the store’s rent.

Scarning resident Jennie Axon, who had worked there for more than three years, said: “I got the phone call out of the blue saying would you like to have your job back, and I said yes straight away. I’m really happy to be back and working with my friends again.”

The news was the latest sign of an upturn in the town’s economy after a spate of recent closures including Chambers newsagents, The George, Bon Marche and Peacocks.

The Cardiff-based fashion retailer went into administration in January, and the Dereham store was one of six in the region to close when Edinburgh Woollen Mill bought it the following month.

New store manager Stuart Page, who lost his job at the Norwich Riverside store when it shut, said: “The company that bought Peacocks was closing stores that were on higher rents, but this was a very profitable store before it shut so it was one they looked at opening.”

He said the reopening was achieved very quickly after he first visited the shop on Tuesday, with two big stock deliveries on Wednesday and Thursday before it opened on Friday.

A spokesman for Edinburgh Woollen Mill said the company is also looking at opening a Ponden Home interiors shop in the former Bon Marche unit next to Peacocks, but it was not confirmed yet.

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