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Leekes to build its biggest store yet

WELSH retailer Leekes is looking to create its biggest store to date at a site in Coventry.

The company already has a small store at Bedworth, but is now planning to move that operation to a former Makro store at Coventry’s Gallagher Business Park.

The new store could offer nearly 150,000 sq ft of retail space – considerably more than at the current Bedworth store, which Leekes acquired when it bought Cole’s Home Furnishers in November 2009.

Plans have been lodged with the local council and consultation boards detailing the proposed relocation are now displayed at the Bedworth store.

Emma Leeke, managing director of the family-run retailer, said the new site had good potential and was in a prime location.

“This is potentially a very exciting development for our business in Warwickshire,” she said. “Whilst our existing site at Bedworth is in a very good town centre location, the size of the store limits the breadth of product we can offer.

“The former Makro site is opposite a landmark in the area, the Ricoh Arena on the A444 dual carriageway close to Junction 3 of the M6, so the new location will be ideal for our new store.

“The site is a 130,000 sq ft store with ample capacity for parking on a six-acre site which will enable us to offer our full range covering everything for the home under one roof.

“We plan to install kitchen, bathroom and conservatory studios as well as increasing our ranges of sofas, dining and bedroom furniture.

“A wide range of accessories, home textiles, gifts and an interior design studio will also be added to complete the full portfolio of products the Leekes brand offers.”

The new store will create 140 staff jobs, with six workers relocating from the existing Bedworth store nearby. Leekes will also be looking to take on between 35 and 50 contractors to operate from the store.

Leekes’ director of marketing Gareth Rees Jones said: “It will be a major addition to the current Leekes’ portfolio of stores in Wales and England and will help us to further establish our brand within the Midlands.

“This will mean that we will have two large home department stores within the region, including our store in Bilston near Wolverhampton which has now been trading under the Leekes brand since November 2009.

“The new store in Coventry at nearly 150,000 sq ft will be the largest of all the Leekes stores and the largest department store in the Midlands.”

Douglas McCord, store manager in Bedworth, said: “Since Leekes bought Cole’s, there has been a lot of exciting improvements in our store – but this is the best news yet.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity to expand the business and I know our customers will be delighted with the greater range and choice of products and brands the new store will offer them.”

Leekes is in discussion with several parties who are interested in the existing Bedworth store which will be vacated as a result of the move.

While Leekes is best-known within Wales for its stores at Llantrisant and Crosshands, it also has stores at Melksham, Bilston, Bedworth and Fenton.

It also operates a builder’s merchant in Tonypandy and conservatory, glazing (and kitchen) studios at Caerphilly Garden Centre, Henry Street Garden Centre in Arborfield, Berkshire and at Wyevale Garden Centres in Thornbury, Swindon, Brent Knoll and Hereford.

Source: Rhodri Evans - Western Mail
www.walesonline.co.uk/business-in-wales/business-news/2011/10/06/leekes-looks-to-build-its-biggest-store-yet-91466-29546745/

06 October 2011
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Thank you for the excellent presentation that you gave at Woodbury Park on Thursday morning. It was very interesting and thought-provoking for our Retail members. The feedback has been excellent.

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Martin Elliott. Chief Executive - Home Hardware.
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