Discount shop returns to Preston shopping centre

A discount department store has returned to a Preston shopping centre, five years after closing its doors.

Friday, 14th October 2016, 9:24 am
Updated Tuesday, 25th October 2016, 3:25 pm
HR director Anna Gornall, Town Crier Peter Taunton, regional store manager Harry Panayi and regional merchandiser Kathryn Bloxsome at the opening of TJ Hughes in Preston, five years after it left the Fishergate Shopping Centre

TJ Hughes has reopened in the Fishergate Shopping Centre, welcomed by town crier Peter Taunton who helped spread the word across Preston.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony took place with senior TJ Hughes leaders, as well as shoppers and members of the store’s 60-strong staff.

The shop left Preston in 2011 after the Liverpool-based business went into administration. It was later bought by Lewis’s Home Retail.

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Managing director Anil Juneja, who has pledged to rebuild the group as a national chain, said: “It’s fantastic news for the city and the local economy.

“We’re really looking forward to seeing people back in the store.”

Regional store manager Harry Panayi said: “We’ve been hard at work for the past three weeks preparing for this moment.

“It’s really great to see it all come together and we are amazingly happy to be back in Preston.”

Shopping centre manager Keith Mitchell said: “It is fantastic to see the doors re-open at TJ Hughes and the enthusiasm from shoppers over the store’s welcome return to Preston city centre.

“Staff at TJ Hughes have worked incredibly hard to get the store ready for trading and they have created something really special. The outlet looks tremendous.”

Among the first to visit the store was the winner of the centre’s Shopping Spree competition.

Student Alexandra Swannell, 25, from Ribbleton, nominated her best friend Leigh-Anne Heaps, 25, also from Ribbleton, to join her on the spree - and they were both given £100 to spend in the store.

Alexandra said: “I was amazed when I heard that I’d won. I’ve never won anything at all before. It was a nice surprise and really well-timed for Christmas!”

The Preston outlet is the 19th TJ Hughes store to be reopened by Lewis’s Home Retail.