The ground floor of Roy’s main department store in Hoveton was back open for business today following a fire early yesterday.

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However the first floor is likely to remain closed until later in the week while a clean-up continues to repair water damage from sprinklers and rid the shopfloor of the smell of smoke.

Footwear and ranges of men’s and women’s clothing, including fashion labels such as Superdry and Laura Ashley, were damaged by smoke and water in the blaze.

An investigation is continuing to establish the cause of the fire which broke out at a till point on the shopfloor just before 1am, but a fire service spokesman said early indications suggested an electrical fault.

Firefighters came from as far afield as Wroxham, Sprowston, Stalham, Carrow and North Walsham and were supported by an aerial ladder platform from Earlham and a water carrier from Hethersett.

It took them only 15 minutes to put out the blaze but they remained on scene for several hours clearing up water from the sprinklers.

Store director Paul Roy said: “There was some water damage but the sprinklers saved the day really. The main issue is the lingering smell of smoke. We hope to be trading on the first floor by the end of the week.”

He said the ground floor had been unaffected apart from water trickling down the escalators and into the lift well.

Mr Roy said talks were going on with insurers to determine what to do about smoke-tainted stock; some was likely to be deemed beyond salvage but it was possible other items would be sold off at discount.

The store remained shut throughout a busy Sunday when weekend crowds were swelled by people coming to watch the Tour of Britain cycle race passing through.

Mr Roy said: “It is a shame because we have been bucking the retail trend and doing very well so far this year.

“Ladies’ wear has shown a 20pc increase in sales and we are five to six per cent up in men’s wear and footwear.”

Mr Roy stressed that none of the other Roy’s outlets in Hoveton had been affected.

No one was injured in the incident.

Back in May 1995 the same building was gutted by a fire which took 10 hours to tackle by shifts of fire crews.

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