New Sports Direct in town's former M&S set for summer opening

The Marks and Spencer store in the town centre in Great Yarmouth which is closing and moving to the

Marks and Spencer in King Street, Great Yarmouth, is being transformed by Sports Direct. - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2014

A new Sports Direct store, featuring many of the brands owned by its parent group, is on track to open in the summer.

According to plans submitted to Great Yarmouth Borough Council, Sports Direct's transformation of the former Marks and Spencer building in King Street, Great Yarmouth,  will add Evans Cycles, Game, and designer clothing retailer USC - all owned by Mike Ashley's Fraser Group.

Fears had been expressed the group would close its Gapton Hall store, but this week a spokesman confirmed the store would be staying open and that the new town centre shop would be opening in July.

It has not outlined what is happening to Game in Market Gates.

A statement said: "We can confirm that plans are still very much under way for the new store opening on King Street, this is set to open in July.

"We can also confirm that the store at Gapton Hall Retail Park will remain open."

Town centre manager Jonathan Newman said it would be a good addition to the town centre.

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"There has been a lot of activity in the building and I am looking forward to seeing what they have done with it.

"It will make a big difference. The next target is Palmers because that is looking a bit untidy."

He added footfall in the town centre was sitting at around 75pc of what it was two years ago, in line with the national average.

But the loosening of lockdown on Monday May 17 would likely boost the shopping hub with pubs and cafes opening indoors allowing people to meet up again and enjoy a cuppa and a cake indoors.

"It gives people more reasons to come into town, plus the guest houses will all be open," he added.

Last month Sports Direct submitted a bid for new signage at the store.

The papers suggest a bright shop front with window "light boxes" advertising what's inside.

A decision is due by June 6.

Marks and Spencer closed in January 2015 after 104 years in the town

At the same time, it opened an M&S Simply Food outlet at Gapton Hall.