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Transformation of empty M&S underway

PUBLISHED: 14:50 23 January 2020 | UPDATED: 14:50 23 January 2020

The lights are back on in Great Yarmouth's former M&S store in King Street, Great Yarmouth Picture: Liz Coates

The lights are back on in Great Yarmouth's former M&S store in King Street, Great Yarmouth Picture: Liz Coates

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After five years in the dark the lights are back on in the former M&S store in Great Yarmouth.

The former M&S store is a hive of activity as shop fitters move in to remodel the space ready for Sports Direct Picture: Liz CoatesThe former M&S store is a hive of activity as shop fitters move in to remodel the space ready for Sports Direct Picture: Liz Coates

Builders descended on the town centre shop this week - the amount of equipment and facilities suggesting it was going to be a long haul.

The activity comes as budget retailer Sports Direct makes its mark on the space, remodelling it for their own use as part of a "brand elevation strategy."

Town centre manager Jonathan Newman said he was pleased to see that change was finally happening.

He said: "It will bring extra footfall and be a destination store.

Actity to the rear of the former M&S store in King Street, Great Yarmouth Picture: Liz CoatesActity to the rear of the former M&S store in King Street, Great Yarmouth Picture: Liz Coates

"It should add to footfall and then it is an opportunity for someone else."

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It is understood the chain intends to quit its Gapton Hall store and move its staff over.

Sports Direct confirmed it was moving into the 18,000sq ft store in July last year.

A lorry delivering large concrete blocks reportedly for shop hoardings for the new Sports Direct store Picture: Liz CoatesA lorry delivering large concrete blocks reportedly for shop hoardings for the new Sports Direct store Picture: Liz Coates

A statement 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."

An opening date has yet to be announced.

Marks and Spencers in King Street closed five years ago, one of the most keenly felt closures in the busiest thoroughfare.

It re-opened for some months in 2019 as an art gallery.

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