Alnwick prepares to welcome new stores

A new store is set to move in to an empty space on Alnwick's high street while talks are also in place to fill another.

Friday, 18th January 2019, 6:00 am
The empty Iceland store and Yorkshire Building Society and HSBC offices in Alnwick. Picture by Jane Coltman

The town’s Iceland store closed at the end of last month, much to the disappointment of staff and customers.

But now Yorkshire Trading Company (YTC) has confirmed it is set to move into the store.

The company, which owns the building and the empty neighbouring Yorkshire Building Society, has also confirmed that it is in talks with a retailer to take over the premises.

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The YTC store is set to create up to 20 jobs.

Damian Kearn, representing YTC said: “Yorkshire Trading Company get possession of the former Iceland this week and will begin to fit out very soon.

“YTC is a variety store offering a very wide range of products including hardware, seasonal and household goods, sweets and toys, plus quality tweeds, outdoor wear and shoes.

“There is something for everyone at prices that will be very popular with Alnwick’s shoppers.

“The new store will create some 15 to 20 jobs in a mix of opportunities from part-time sales assistant to store manager. As a family-owned and run business, the company prides itself on promoting from within, so prospects are good for enthusiastic team members.

“Yorkshire Trading Company will be an exciting new addition to the high street.”

He added: “We have been working hard to secure a new tenant for the former Yorkshire Building Society unit and I am happy to say that negotiations are progressing well with a national multiple retailer who will add further to the town’s offer.

“At a time when town centre retail is under threat, this new store opening demonstrates YTC’s faith in, and support for, the high street.”

Alnwick town and county councillor Gordon Castle said: “Many people were very sorry to see Iceland going but times do change in business and this is good news. We will have one less empty building in the centre of the town and it creates jobs.

“High streets across the county are going through tough times at the moment so I welcome this news.”

And Alnwick Town Council heard last week that the nationally-renowned retail analyst Bill Grimsey, author of The Grimsey Reports of 2013 and 2018, will be visiting Alnwick next month.

The town council’s projects and funding officer, Tim Kirton, informed councillors that there would be a special meeting of the business forum on Wednesday, February 13.

Mr Grimsey will tour the town and then present to the business forum on his vision for what town centres and high streets must do to increase their viability and ensure their survival in the future.

Bill Grimsey gained particular attention for masterminding the recovery of DIY group Wickes, which had been at the centre of an accounting scandal that resulted in the suspension of its share price and the banks foreclosing.