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B&M opens in former Tesco Homeplus unit in Chelmsford

Tesco Homeplus store UK

WITHIN minutes of the first ever B&M store in Chelmsford opening its doors, customers flooded the car park to scan the freshly built shelves for bargains.

The homeware retailer saw its first customers get a chance to peruse the new-look shop at 9am yesterday morning.

Paul Johnson, the new store manager, who has moved from the chain's Colchester shop, said: "It's amazing to get to see the finished shop after it started as just an empty shell just over two weeks ago."

It took 105 staff, working full time, for 17 days to refit the store that covers two floors, including home products like furniture, gardening appliances and DIY tools on the mezzanine, with everyday items such as food and toys on the ground level.

The former Tesco Homeplus site off Parkway has been vacant since March when the supermarket giant announced in January they were closing the store following a Serious Fraud Office investigation into Tesco's £263 million accounting error black hole. As a result, 43 unprofitable stores were closed nationwide and Chelmsford Tesco Homeplus was one of the casualties.

It was feared all 78 jobs would be in jeopardy.

But the new B&M has employed 105 staff, about 35 of which are full-time staff.

"It's great to get the store up and running," added Paul.

"It's taken a lot of hard work and it's great for Chelmsford to have these jobs brought into the city.

"We can't wait to bring great bargains and great products to customers in Chelmsford."

B&M have three types of store including a home store, which opened in Chelmsford, a bargain store and a home store with garden centre.

Last month, the chain launched an appeal for nominations for local heroes to cut the ribbon of the new store.

Out of hundreds of nominees, chair of the Chelmsford Talking Newspaper, Pat Wilson, was chosen after being nominated by Chelmsford Community Radio director Matthew Eaves.

"It was a great honour to be asked to cut the ribbon, I've never done anything like that before," said 83-year-old Pat.

For performing the ceremony, B&M bosses also gave her a box of Thornton Chocolates and £200 store vouchers for the talking newspaper charity that helps partially sighted people listen to Chronicle stories.

"It's wonderful the store has opened and I think it will do really well, it's great it has got a car park as well," added Pat.

Pat was also joined in the ribbon cutting by Chelmsford Mayor councillor Paul Hutchinson.

Source : Chris Dyer - Essex Chronicle
www.essexchronicle.co.uk/Home-garden-slant-new-store-Parkway-site/story-27685964-detail/story.html

29 August 2015

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