Hope for town centre as new Sports Direct opens
- Credit: James Weeds
There was hope on the high street in Great Yarmouth after a major national retailer opened its new store.
Sports Direct, the UK's biggest sports retailer, has moved into the former Marks and Spencer store - which had been in the town centre for over 100 years before closing in 2015 - on King Street.
On Facebook, the store received a string of positive comments.
"Has a lot more clothing range than Gapton," commented Mason James.
Barry Ellis added: "A worthwhile building being used again as an ongoing asset to the town centre.
"Here’s hoping it brings increasing footfall to Great Yarmouth."
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At 9am on Friday, there was a steady flow of people waiting for the shop to open.
One man, who was holidaying in Great Yarmouth, said: "I suppose it's a good thing for the town if the shop has been empty for so long.
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"I use Sports Direct quite a lot in my hometown, so I think it will be great for locals."
Paul Englefield, 46, the manager of the new branch, commented on how smoothly the opening of the store had gone and how excited he was for the branch to be in the town centre.
More stores to fill
Currently, there are ten empty units in Great Yarmouth's town centre.
- Argos - closed since early 2020.
- Taco Bell - closed in early 2020.
- Cex - closed in June, following a fire.
- Greenwoods - closed in 2018.
- Game in Market Gates - relocated to new Sports Direct unit on Friday.
- Two-Necked Swan - closed since 2007.
- Spar - closed in 2016.
- Newsagent / Diecast model supplier / Betting shop - closed for several years.
- H Samuel - closed in 2019.
- Palmers - closed in 2020.
Another woman, who also didn't wish to be named, said: "It is very nice to see this old shop being used again.
"Now we just need something to take up the old Palmers unit, like a Primark or something."
Great Yarmouth Borough Council said of Palmers: "The purchase of the building was confirmed at the PR committee on July 13."
There is currently no timeline in place for the development of the building.