11 jobs to go as store closes

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A FLAGSHIP shopping centre is set to lose another high street name with the loss of 11 jobs.

Superdrug is to close its branch in Hartlepool’s Middleton Grange Shopping Centre in September.

The store is one of the town’s longest established names having been in the centre for 24 years.

Diane Price, assistant manager at Superdrug, said: “We were expecting it because there were rumours going around and we are not the only Superdrug that has closed.”

The store will close its doors for good on September 3.

It will be the latest high street name that has closed stores in the shopping centre following Woolworths, Adams, Game, and JJB sports shop.

Woolworths is soon to be replaced with the opening of a new Bhs store as part of a £2m investment by centre owners Premier Property Group (PPG).

Mrs Price added: “When we first heard it was a shock. Quite a few staff have been here for a long time.

“We are all wondering what we are going to do.”

She said most of the members of staff are employed on a part-time basis and so do not want to travel out of town to work.

Bosses at PPG say they are aiming to enhance the centre and are examining a series of initiatives, including refurbishment and capital works.

Centre bosses have welcomed department store Bhs signing a 15-year lease and say they are hoping to announce further new retailers coming into the centre in the next few months after the economic recession led to a number of vacancies.

Bhs will take over 35,000 sq ft of the 580,000 sq ft of lettable space in the centre.

PPG has already begun work to open up and refurbish the façade of the unit and Bhs is expected to begin trading this autumn following an extensive fit-out, increasing the occupancy rate of the centre from 80 per cent to 86 per cent.