A LANDMARK Sheffield shop which shut its doors last year is to become three new stores.
The former flagship TJ Hughes site on High Street, in the city centre, has been standing empty since the firm’s lease ended in November.
Now the building’s landlord has finally revealed new 10-year leases have been agreed - with Sports Direct, Poundland, and the British Heart Foundation, for shops over two floors.
Further plans for the remaining floors are yet to be announced, and the three tenants have not confirmed how many jobs will be created.
Some shoppers in the city centre yesterday said the move was good news, though others were disappointed.
Post office worker Anthony Simms, aged 22, (bottom) said: “We need more jobs here, and anything is better than an empty building.”
Mum Stephanie Battey, 46, (top) of the Manor, said: “People who come to shop in Sheffield want to save their pennies, so they want a bargain kind of place.” But healthcare worker Michelle Bennett, 20, (middle) of Greenhill, said: “I think it’s a waste of space if it’s a pound shop.”
And former TJ Hughes worker Linzi Fearn, (middle) also 20, of Greenhill, agreed. “It could do with becoming a few little shops like Zara, or House of Fraser would have been good.
“There’s not much in Sheffield to get people in.” TJ Hughes was a cornerstone of city centre shopping for 15 years before its old site closed - just a year after it was saved from the axe. Firm bosses said they had been ‘forced’ out as landlord Standard Life Investments wanted to redevelop the site. TJ Hughes moved to a smaller site on The Moor and more than 60 workers lost their jobs. The Sports Direct store will cover one entire floor of the old TJ Hughes. The British Heart Foundation outlet is to sell furniture and electricals.
Richard Wright, executive director of Sheffield’s Chamber of Commerce, said: “We are pushing for development of the whole city centre. The TJ Hughes building is not standing empty, and that’s got to be a good thing. There are as many jobs in retail as there is willingness to buy, so what we’ve got to ask is it going to bring money into the city centre?”
Coun Leigh Bramall, cabinet member for business at Sheffield Council, added: “We were saddened to see TJ Hughes leave this building. It’s welcome that the premises are not to remain empty.”
A spokesman for Standard Life said: “We have agreed new leases with Sports Direct, Poundland and the British Heart Foundation which will complete the retail element of the lower and upper ground floors of our proposed redevelopment of 50 High Street. We are working on plans for the four remaining floors, which we hope to be able to share soon.”