Published on 20 - January - 2012
Leekes announces plans for new Coventry storeWelsh independent home and garden chain reveals it is close to receiving planning permission to redevelop a former Makro site into a 130,000sq ft department store.
Leekes will invest £6m transforming the derelict site on Gallagher Business Park into the largest department store within a 50-mile radius.
Leekes, which has its head office in South Wales, bought the freehold of the site from Makro last summer. At a meeting on Wednesday, January 18 Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council resolved to grant planning permission. However, due to the size of the proposal, it will now be referred to the Secretary of State, who will have the final decision.
As part of the plans, the current Leekes furniture store on Leicester Road, Bedworth will be relocated, with all staff being offered the opportunity to transfer to the Coventry store, which is scheduled to open in the summer.
The new site will substantially increase the retail space available, allowing Leekes to offer the full range of products currently sold at its other four home department stores in Bilston near Wolverhampton, Melksham in Wiltshire and Llantrisant and Cross Hands in South Wales.
Leekes md Emma Leeke said "We are absolutely delighted that we gained unanimous support from the Council Planning Committee who have resolved to grant us planning permission. We hope to gain a favourable response from the Secretary of State in the next few weeks to enable us to begin our work at the site. "
She added: "This represents the start of an exciting next chapter for our business in the Midlands. The site will become the new flagship store for our business set in an extremely convenient location, opposite the Ricoh Arena and close to Junction 3 of the M6, and its size will enable us to offer the same range of products to current and new customers in this part of the Midlands that we do for the thousands of customers who visit our other home department stores each week.
"Our purchase of the freehold for this site means that we are making a long term commitment to this area. We have a multi-million pound refurbishment budget for the old Makro store where we plan to install kitchen, bathroom and conservatory studios, as well as increasing our ranges of sofas, dining and bedroom furniture, which we have not able to include in our small store in Bedworth. We'll also be adding a wide range of accessories, clothing, home textiles, decorating and DIY products as well as an interior design studio."
Leekes acquired the Bedworth store in November 2009 as part of the purchase of the Cole's Home Furnishers Group, which also included stores at Bilston, Wolverhampton and Fenton, near Stoke on Trent. It spent more than £3m was spent redeveloping the Bilston store, which was officially opened in November 2010.
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