One of the city’s major businesses is planning to pump millions of pounds of investment into expanding and improving its stores.
Marks and Spencer, which has two stores in the city, is planning to take over the neighbouring premises to its store in North Street, which is empty and formerly occupied by Topshop.
It is part of a large investment scheme in its two stores – the second is in East Street – which will also see internal refurbishments and an increase in the size of the East Street restaurant.
The news has been greeted with a positive reaction from city-centre manager Kim Long, who feels it is an investment to be proud of.
“It’s brilliant,” she said. “What they are doing is really positive news.
“They have had their eye on the store next door from the moment Topshop started going.
“It’s absolutely positive for the community. I think we should be proud they are investing in their stores.”
In the past year some of the city’s major chain stores have switched to great effect after the collapse of Woolworths, which was in North Street.
Mrs Long added: “When Woolworths left, it left us with our biggest floor space we had vacant. It was the catalyst for movement. It allowed Boots to go in to Woolworths, Topshop to go in to Boots, and Marks and Spencer to go in to Topshop.
“It was a catalyst for growth for all these businesses. Marks has always wanted to expand and this has given them the opportunity.”
Mrs Long said a number of other vacant premises had also been filled, including two in Little London Walk, one in South Street, and the return of Serious Sandwich in Baffins Court.
The development of the Butter Market in North Street is also completed and is expected to open with new tenants in the coming months.
A spokesman for M&S said: “We can confirm the M&S on North Street will be taking over an adjacent unit, currently occupied by Topshop, as part of its re-model plans. We look forward to unveiling more details on the newly-refreshed M&S store in due course.”