September 2 2014 Latest news:
Monday, March 24, 2014
Bosses at Norwich-based discount store QD have ended months of speculation over the future of its flagship city centre shop - by confirming that it will not be re-opening.
The St Stephens Street shop closed “temporarily” on New Year’s Eve 2012, with bosses saying the closure of the store, which has been in the city centre since 1992, was part of a £500,000 refurbishment project.
But last November, with the store still shut, it emerged that a protracted negotiation over the lease of the store from landlords the East of England Co-operative Society had prevented re-opening.
And QD bosses have confirmed that they will not be re-opening the store, while it is understood that discount rivals Poundland are waiting in the wings to move in.
Peter Muir, spokesman for QD stores, said: “It is true that QD will not be re-occupying the store and it is with some sadness, however we remain totally committed to the city.
“Norwich is at the very heart of our business and we are actively looking for a second site here at this moment.”
Staff who used to work at the store have been redeployed to other QD stores in Anglia Square and in Dereham.
QD operates 38 retail outlets under the QD, Lathams of Potter Heigham and Cherry Lane Garden Centre brands, extending from the eastern England and Home Counties as far north as Doncaster and west as Wrexham.
A planning application lodged with Norwich City Council suggests Poundland could be the new occupiers. The discount chain has asked the city council for permission to install new signs at the St Stephens Street store.
However, a spokeswoman for Poundland said they could not comment.
But Jackie Brown, spokeswoman for the landlords the East of England Co-operative Society said they were “in discussions with potential occupiers”.
One new discount store which has confirmed it is coming to Norwich is Poundworld. A new Poundworld store will open in Norwich’s Castle Mall this Thursday.
The new store will be next to Peacock’s and Boots and will create 30 new jobs.
Bosses at Yorkshire-based Poundworld, which was founded in 1997 and has 240 stores across the UK, say the store will stock more than 5,000 products priced at £1.
• Do you have a story about a new business coming to Norwich? Call business reporter Ben Woods on 01603 772426 or email firstname.lastname@example.org