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Norwich city centre store shut for almost a year due to lease wrangle

PUBLISHED: 16:41 04 November 2013 | UPDATED: 16:41 04 November 2013

QD Stores in St Stephens Street, Norwich. A wrangle over a lease means it remains closed almost a year after it was shut for refurbishment. Photo: Steve Adams

QD Stores in St Stephens Street, Norwich. A wrangle over a lease means it remains closed almost a year after it was shut for refurbishment. Photo: Steve Adams

The future of a Norwich city centre shop which closed “temporarily” almost a year ago remains uncertain, as talks over its lease continue.

When QD Stores closed its flagship store in St Stephen’s Street on New Year’s Eve, bosses said they hoped it would re-open in April.

They said then that the store, which has been in the city centre since 1992, was temporarily closing as part of a £500,000 refurbishment project.

But 11 months on and the store remains shut, with bosses at QD blaming a protracted negotiation over the lease for the delay in re-opening.

Staff who used to work at the store have been redeployed to other QD stores in Anglia Square and in Dereham, while it has been shut.

Peter Muir, spokesman for QD stores, said: “Some months ago we vacate the premises so refurbishment work could be carried out.

“We have not yet been able to reoccupy the store. We are in discussion with our landlords with relation to aspects of our lease and we are still waiting for them to come back in relation to those discussions.
“We are immensely committed to the city for all sorts of good and historic reasons.”

Nick Denny, executive officer (property) for the East of England Co-operative Society said: “We can confirm that we own the building currently leased to QD stores on St Stephen’s Street in Norwich.

“As a responsible landlord with a very substantial investment portfolio across the region, it would be inappropriate to comment on any matters relating to one of our tenants or go into details about their business or our lease with them.”

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.

Norwich is regularly named as one of the top 10 shopping destinations in the country. In November last year it was rated the ninth best shopping destination in the UK in the Venuescore survey carried out by Javelin Group.

It was also placed sixth in volume of tourism day visits in England in 2011 and ninth as a UK shopping destination in the Experian Goad retail index.

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