Boyes could move into former Home Bargains store in Berwick

A new tenant is reportedly lining up a move into the former Home Bargains store in Berwick town centre.
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Boyes, a department store, is believed to be in discussions about taking on the prominent Marygate unit that has been empty since February.

It is understood there are still issues to be resolved before a deal is tied up but the prospect of a new tenant moving into a key location has been welcomed.

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Stephen Scott, chairman of Berwick Chamber of Trade and Commerce, said: “Boyes would be a very welcome addition to Marygate and it would be a good anchor store for the town centre by helping to increase footfall, which in turn would support all other businesses.

The former Home Bargains store in Berwick.The former Home Bargains store in Berwick.
The former Home Bargains store in Berwick.

"However, the town centre is still in need of a grocery store so that locals and visitors have somewhere to buy day-to-day essentials in the town centre.

"Overall, the opportunity to fill one of Berwick’s large empty units is good news and together with the increasing number of some great independent shops, there is reason to be optimistic.”

Home Bargains closed its town centre store to move to the Loaning Meadows Retail Park on the outskirts of town.

The prime site was occupied by Woolworths until 2009.

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Cllr Catherine Seymour, Berwick North ward member on Northumberland County Council, said it was ‘great to hear’ that the retailer could be on its way.

She said: “Although we have some empty shops, as do other towns throughout the country, quite a few new shops have opened up in recent months and that is very encouraging.

"This is positive news for the local economy as well as over £100m has been invested in Berwick in recent years and there is much to be thankful for with a bright future for our town."

The loss of Home Bargains, quickly followed by Iceland – which also opened The Food Warehouse on the retail park – led to growing fears for the town centre’s retail offer.

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A survey carried out in the spring found there were 39 vacant units in Berwick town centre with 22 empty units on Marygate alone plus six in West Street, three in Bridge Street, three in Hide Hill and Sandgate, two in Woolmarket, two in Golden Square and one in Church Street.

Boyes has been approached for comment.

The firm specialises in ‘good value’ household products, fashion and footwear.

The company was formed in 1881 when William Boyes opened a small store in Eastborough, Scarborough selling odd lots and remnants from merchants.

Business continued to grow and go from strength to strength and in 1910 the expansion of the company started.

W Boyes and Co Ltd now operate over 60 stores across the country, the nearest to Berwick being at Manor Walks Shopping Centre in Cramlington.