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The Range to open 60th store

The Range has kicked off 2012 with a milestone, opening its 60th store in the Welsh town of Carmarthen. Owner Chris Dawson also announces plans for a further 15 outlets this year.

The store in Carmarthen will officially open its doors on Friday, February 10 and should be met with a positive reaction from locals, explained The Range owner Chris Dawson. "It has been beckoning for a while... People have been asking when we are going to open a Range store in the area - we had something like 43 letters! I think since fuel prices have gone up, people don't want to drive to Swansea. It's lovely for us. There has been a massive response."

The retailer has also been inundated with requests from people who want to work at the new store, which is an ex-PC World outlet. "We've had a ridiculously large response with regards employment at the store," said Mr Dawson. "We've taken on 168 members of staff - some from PC World, who lost their jobs when it closed."

The 20,000sq ft outlet is quite small for a typical Range store, which offers products across 16 departments, including DIY, homewares, furniture, lighting, arts and crafts and garden. To maximise space at the Carmarthen store, the retailer has added a mezzanine floor and will also run a garden centre from the car park, Mr Dawson told DIY Week.

The Range's latest milestone comes after a successful year in 2011 where the business opened 11 new superstores. Despite other retailers struggling in the tough economic climate, Mr Dawson said The Range will continue to plough ahead with its ambitious expansion plans, opening a further 15 stores in 2012.

Confirmed so far is a store in Dorchester, which will open on March 9, as well as outlets in Stoke-on-Trent and Bangor.

The branch in Dorchester is particularly poignant for Mr Dawson, as the front door of the store faces the market stall he first started trading from. As a tribute to this, the Plymouth-based entrepreneur has actually booked a weekly slot on one of the stalls to sell his wares. "I will be selling three pairs of socks for £1", laughed Mr Dawson.

Looking to the year ahead, Mr Dawson remains positive, despite the doom and gloom predicted by some analysts. He told DIY Week: "I am always optimistic."

Source : DIYWeek

23 January 2012
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