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National retailer to open store in former M&S building

PUBLISHED: 11:48 06 July 2019 | UPDATED: 13:05 06 July 2019

Sports Direct will open a new store in the former M&S building in Great Yarmouth. Picture: James Bass

Sports Direct will open a new store in the former M&S building in Great Yarmouth. Picture: James Bass

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A town centre building which used to be the home of Marks & Spencer has been bought by retail giants Sports Direct.

The Sports Direct store in Gapton Hall will close. Picture: House PRThe Sports Direct store in Gapton Hall will close. Picture: House PR

The M&S store in King Street, Great Yarmouth closed four years ago with the premises most recently hosting an arts exhibition.

Sport Direct has announced it will open a new shop in the 18,000sq ft. store.

A spokesman for SportsDirect.com said: "This is a major part of Sports Direct's brand elevation strategy that will see a huge investment in a number of new stores, while upgrading and improving existing ones across the UK.

"This is the strategic vision of the business as it aims to meet the demands of an ever more sophisticated consumer who is increasingly looking for not only good value, but an enhanced shopping experience."

The shop will open in 2020: Rui Vieira/PA WireThe shop will open in 2020: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

M&S had served customers in the town for 104 years before it closed in 2015.

In 2017 the building went up for sale at auction with a guide price of £650,000 but failed to sell to the disappointment of many residents.

The latest news comes after it was announced on Friday that Great Yarmouth had been awarded £150,000 to develop plans for reviving its high street.

Great Yarmouth's town centre manager Jonathan Newman said he was delighted to hear Sports Direct would be moving into the King Street premises.

"It's great news for the town and it shows Sport Direct have a lot of confidence in the town centre," he said.

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"It not only provides people with a new shop but will hopefully encourage more businesses to invest in Great Yarmouth."

The store is set to open in 2020 and will replace the Sports Direct at Gapton Hall Retail Park.

Staff at the retail park store will be relocated to the new premises.

Leader of Great Yarmouth Borough Council, Carl Smith, said: "The former M&S building is a prime retail site in the town centre, which everyone has been keen to see filled.

"We look forward to Sports Direct completing its refurbishment and opening its doors, supporting the wider town centre offer and footfall."

The store will include SportsDirect.com and USC brands.

More than 35 new Sports Direct stores are expected to open across the next three years transforming the brand's new and existing sites across the UK into contemporary shopping destinations.

An official opening date for the Great Yarmouth store is yet to be announced.

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