Homeware brand Wilko has confirmed plans to relocate into the former Marks and Spencer menswear store in Chester city centre alongside fashion retailer River Island.
For Wilko - formerly branded as Wilkinson - this will literally mean moving along the road from its current location which, like its new home, is also in Foregate Street.
The announcement comes after it emerged last week that River Island had applied for advertising and planning consent to change the shop front on the next door unit that will be created when the old M&S is sub-divided.
The opening date for the new Wilko is still to be announced but is likely to be late summer. The new store will be about twice the size of the old unit and over two floors.
Spokesman Peter Woodall said: ‘We love being part of the community in Chester and have been looking for an opportunity to offer our great product range, value and choice in an even better shopping environment. Once we have a firm opening date we will let everyone know.’
The retailer aims ‘to minimise any disruption to trading’ during the move.
River Island currently runs a store in Chester’s Grosvenor Shopping Centre but this operation will relocate into the new Foregate Street premises.
Spokeswoman Holly Fulco said: ‘I can confirm River Island will be occupying 13,000 sq ft and Wilko will be taking 38,000 sq ft of the space. At present I don’t have an opening date or any other information on when the current store will close.’
All these changes were made possible after Blue Coast Commercial Investments was granted planning permission to subdivide part of the M&S premises fronting Foregate Street, with separate entrances for two different retailers.
Permission has also been granted for change of use planning consent concerning the element of the old M&S fronting Frodsham Street from A1 (shops) to A2 (financial and professional services) or A3 (restaurants and cafes).
Splitting up the former M&S store overcomes the difficulty in marketing such a large unit.