Closure of a large store in Sheffield set to leave key street the worst its been

A Sheffield property experts fears another big shop will close in the city centre – in a huge blow for once thriving High Street.

By David Walsh
Friday, 25th June 2021, 2:38 pm

Paul Lancaster said he was sure Sports Direct would leave 50 High Street following its move to The Moor.

And following huge changes in shopping habits and the pandemic, the unit would never be a retail shop again.

If confirmed, it would leave High Street the worst it’s been.

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Sports Direct on High Street in Sheffield.

The building was a House of Fraser in the 1990s and at one time the area included a Schofields department store and C&A clothing which became Primark. Today that unit is empty, as is the retail space below the Easy Hotel, as well as the former Bon Marche, Telegraph House, which was Santander, and the former Alliance and Leicester opposite.

Sports Direct has submitted plans to put its signs on the old TJ Huges on The Moor.

The firm has yet to comment but Mr Lancaster said it was almost inconceivable it would have two in Sheffield city centre.

He added: “Sports Direct tried to come out of High Street three years ago but did a deal with the landlord. Now, I’m as sure as I can be the store will shut – and I can’t see it being retail again.”

House of Fraser and the Hole in the Road in 1989.

Number 50 High Street could struggle to find tenants, he added. Most discount chains already had shops in the city centre, ‘fast fashion’ stores had gone to The Moor. It could be a charity shop, although escalators up to its first floor position would deter some.

The ground floor units on Arundel Gate are occupied by the British Heart Foundation and Poundland. The unused upper floors have planning permission for 330 flats and are on the market for £4m.

In future, the Sports Direct unit was likely to be mixed use, or leisure, such as an ‘escape room’ Mr Lancaster added. But it would take time and creativity.

“It does open the door to other uses but landlords have to get real on rents. And if you can find tenants business rates can be more than rents these days.”

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Thank you. Nancy Fielder, editor.