Holt store set to expand with more jobs on cards

A family business in Holt is aiming to prove retailers can win the fight against recession after announcing a �1m-plus plan to expand one of its stores and create more jobs.

C T Baker Ltd, which owns the town centre department store Bakers and Larners and a north Norfolk builders merchants, took over the Holt branch of Budgens in 2007, which it is now looking to expand.

The company was granted planning permission by councillors at North Norfolk District Council, on Thursday for the single-storey extension, which would allow them a 60pc increase in their sales area.

Managing director, Michael Baker, said: 'There will be an increase in the number of staff employed, but we cannot be specific at the moment about the numbers.

'We will be offering local produce, as well as a percentage of non-food items, in order to give shoppers a wider choice, including cookware, clothing, and expanding our range of gardening items.

'The additional space will also be used to make the aisles wider as well and install more check-outs.

'We are also replacing all our refrigerated chilled and frozen units with more modern equipment which will be more cost-effective and greener.

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'It will mean an investment from the company in excess of �1m.'

He said despite the country being in recession, he believed it was the best time to invest in the Kerridge Way shop.

He said: 'It shows that local businesses is prepared to and will compete with the nationals. Being local we can react to customer needs more quickly and be more focused on the customer.

'This shows we are prepared to stay in Holt and to invest in the area. We feel that times that we are in recession are times to invest so that we are ready when there is an upturn in business.'