One of the biggest and best known names on the high street is coming to Burnley.
News that Primark is to open a store in the town centre is an early Christmas present for Burnley that should put it on the map as a shoppers’ destination.
The high street giant, that offers clothing, footwear, homewares and cosmetics at below average prices, will move into a prime retail 40,000 sq ft unit in the town centre next door to Next on a new 15 year lease.
Currently occupied by Wilko, this store will be re-locating to a 12,000 sq ft unit in The Mall with a new 10 year lease. This space is currently home to Poundland, formerly the 99p store. Poundland will consolidate from their current two stores into their 4,000 sq ft unit in Market Square, next to New Look, on a new 10 year lease.
The announcement that a major retailer, that is hugely popular with the public, is coming to Burnley is welcome news for the town that has come in for criticism in the past for not offering a diverse enough range of shops like neighbouring town Blackburn.
The announcement was welcomed by Burnley MP Julie Cooper who described it as "excellent news" for Burnley’s town centre.
She said: "Looking at other examples of where new Primark stores have opened in a town, footfall has increased by around 15%.
"Burnley residents often tell me that we need shops with the ‘pulling power’ to rejuvenate the heart of our town, and evidence shows that Primark is just the store to do it. Crucially, it will also provide a much needed and sizeable jobs boost for Burnley residents.
Coun. Sue Graham, Executive Member for Regeneration and Economic development said: “It’s great news that Primark have decided to come to Burnley.
“Their addition to our town centre will have a major impact on the town and we look forward to the store opening.
"This move demonstrates real confidence in Burnley.”
The announcement that Primark was coming to Burnley was made today by Addington Capital, the investment and asset management company, in partnership with the Charter Walk shopping centre owner EPISO, a fund advised by Tristan Capital Partners. The store is expected to be open by October next year.
Addington bought the 250,000 sq ft Charter Walk Shopping Centre in a joint venture in March 2011 and has been actively re-developing and asset managing the scheme ever since.
Alex Wagstaff, partner at Addington Capital, said, “We have kept an ongoing dialogue with Primark since we took ownership of the centre and this has always been a target retailer for us, so we are delighted we can now offer them suitable premises.
“Primark is one of the leading retailers on the high street in the UK and securing them in Burnley for the long term is great news for the town centre.
“With Wilko and Poundland also securing their long term future in the centre, we think these lettings will strengthen Burnley’s retail offer and increase the already good level of retailer demand for the town.”
The town centre has been in chaos for several months as a major £3M re-development takes place including re-laying new paving.
Coun. Mark Townsend said: “We see the development of the town centre into a sub-regional centre as a key part of our long term vision for Burnley.
"That is why we have not only supported this development but also jointly invested over £3 million with Lancashire County Council into improving public realm in the town as well as removing the redundant former cinema block, open market and service ramp over Bankfield which will be demolished in the next 12 months.
"We are delighted that a leading retailer such as Primark is coming to Burnley as well as securing further long term commitments to the town from Wilkinson and Poundland.
"We are fully aware of the positive impact on visitors that Primark will bring which will have added benefits for all retailers in the town."
Founded in Dublin in 1969, Primark now has stores across the UK and Europe and last year opened five flagship stores in America.
Stephen Proudly of Lambert Smith Hampton, who are retail agents on the deal with Barker Proudlove, said: “Primark’s longstanding requirement has been satisfied through a diligent and collaborative approach by all parties and will ensure the continued success of Charter Walk and Burnley town centre. “Primark, situated alongside the upsized Next, was a long held target of the leasing team and will help transform Curzon Street, with a new Wilko store anchoring the St James Street entrance to the Centre.”