Jubilant shoppers welcomed high street giant TJ Hughes back to Sheffield – as the department store’s highly anticipated comeback was hailed as a major boost for the city’s economy.
Crowds gathered for the opening of the Sheffield superstore in its new location – a double-storey, 44,000 square foot building within The Moor’s new markets block.
Anil Juneja, CEO of owners Lewis’ Home Retail, said: “We’re so thrilled to be back in Sheffield, it means a lot to us to finally be here in one of the city’s key retail and leisure areas.
“The crowd has been lovely, so curious and interested, and the new store has been incredibly well-received, so we just hope that can continue into Christmas.”
Mr Juneja said of the new store: “It really shows how we’ve moved on as a business. We’ve evolved the look and feel of the store and it’s an exciting time for our hard working team, as well as our customers – old and new – and Sheffield’s economy.”
TJ Hughes closed the doors of its former landmark shop, on the junction of High Street and Arundel Gate, last November. Bosses said they had been ‘forced out’.
The new ‘bigger and better’ department store has created 65 jobs and forms part of the multi-million pound shopping redevelopment taking place on The Moor.
The store’s launch comes ahead of the grand opening of the new £18 million 183-stall Moor market in November.
Sheffield shopper John Kelly, aged 69, said: “I’ve left my wife browsing around the new store and she’s loving looking around. We’re certainly pleased with the result.”
Gillian Lockley, 64, added: “I used to really like the old TJ Hughes store, but this one is much better. It’s cleaner and brighter and I’m so glad it’s back. I like to call into TJ Hughes whenever I pop into the city so I’ve really missed it.”
Ann Mark, 63, of Mosborough, added: “I think it’s a real improvement. It’s got a really nice feel to it and I like that everything’s laid out well, it’s lovely.
“The old store had everything just crammed in and stuff all over the place, so they’ve done really well here, it looks good.”
TJ Hughes, along with Debenhams, Atkinsons and BHS, is now one of four department stores in place on The Moor. A 7,000 sq ft Iceland and 12,000 sq ft Poundland are also set to open there later this year.
Store director Chris McKewan said: “The new Sheffield store is part of our ambitious growth plans over the coming year. The investment and current changes to The Moor mean we are confident we are in the right place at the right time.
“With the improving outlook for an economic recovery, we hope to see further TJ Hughes stores return to the UK’s high street.”
Ranald Philips, director at The Moor’s asset management firm Ashcroft, said: “We are impressed with the significant improvements that have been made to TJ Hughes under its new ownership and believe they will be ideal tenants.
“The Moor really is changing for the better and the people of Sheffield can now both see and experience a more vibrant city centre.”
Sheffield Coun Leigh Bramall, Sheffield Council’s cabinet member for business, said: “The opening of the new TJ Hughes store is the first step in a number of new openings that will transform The Moor.
“With the new market due to open before Christmas, we will see a welcome boost to the city centre.”