Jobs boost as discount shop returns to Preston shopping centre

TJ Hughes store in the Fishergate Shopping Centre, Preston, before it left the centre
TJ Hughes store in the Fishergate Shopping Centre, Preston, before it left the centre
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More than 80 jobs are to be created with the return of department store TJ Hughes to a Preston shopping centre.

Fishergate owner Benson Elliot has secured the return of the discount shop to its original home, after it left five years ago.

The store will go into the 33,000 sq ft premises over two floors at the centre, on a 10 year lease.

This month, volunteers from a free book shop that had been in the unit were told the shop would close, with less than a week’s notice to clear the premises.

It is now expected TJ Hughes will open its doors to shoppers in mid October after an “extensive refurbishment”, after the retailer “prioritised Preston as one of its most successful locations”.

Bosses say the move is the latest stage in TJ Hughes managing director Anil Juneja’s plan to rebuild the group as a national chain.

He made the commitment after it was bought by Lewis’s Home Retail in August 2011.

Peter Cornforth, director of retail at Benson Elliot, said: “It is great to welcome TJ Hughes back to the Fishergate Shopping Centre along with the jobs that it is creating on its return.

“The return of TJ Hughes is a sign of the confidence the retailer has both in the Fishergate Centre and in Preston city centre as a shopping destination.”

TJ Hughes managing director Anil Juneja said: “I’m delighted to announce that TJ Hughes is returning to Preston and to its original premises. It’s fantastic news for the town and local economy. We’re really looking forward to seeing people back in the store.”

The Preston outlet will be the 19th TJ Hughes store to be reopened by Lewis’s Home Retail, and is hoped to play a part in the redevelopment of the centre.

The company currently employs around 2,000 workers.

Other branches can be found at Eastbourne, Glasgow, Sheffield, Newcastle, Widnes, Birkenhead, Bootle, Middlesbrough, Hartlepool, Coventry, Stretford, Oldham, Walsall, Bury, St Helens and Cannock.

Its flagship store is in Liverpool.