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The Range to open on former Tesco site in St Helens, creating 150 jobs

ST HELENS has been handed a twin economic boost after it emerged a new store will open at an empty supermarket site – creating 150 new jobs.

The Range – a growing DIY, homeware, and gardening chain – has struck a deal to open a store at the former Tesco supermarket on Chalon Way West later this summer.

The news is regarded as a double boost for the local economy.

Firstly it will bring back into use a prime retail location in St Helens town centre, which had been unoccupied for eight months since Tesco relocated to its new store beside Langtree Park. Redeveloping the Chalon Way site is a key plank in a three-pronged strategy that also involved regenerating land where the £30m Saints stadium now stands and the former Knowsley Road ground for housing.

Secondly, and crucially, it will create a healthy mix of part-time and full-time positions, bringing a lift to the ailing local jobs market.

It does mean, however, that the store’s surrounding car park, which has been run by St Helens Council since Tesco’s closure, will cease operation after this Saturday (June 9) while improvements are made in preparation for the retailer moving in.

The Range is owned and run by Plymouth-based entrepreneur Chris Dawson and the St Helens store will take its number of outlets across the UK to 67.

The business says it enjoyed a successful year in 2011, opening 11 new superstores across England and Wales.

Stores include 16 departments such as DIY, homeware, furniture, lighting, arts and crafts and garden.
The Range says that with so many people struggling to find work and a tough climate of retail, it is “pioneering the way for creating jobs up”.

Mr Dawson, who is taking part in the Channel 4 jobs report; where he joined a selected panel of leading business professionals to talk about the task of creating 2.5 million British jobs.

Jobs will range from store and department managers to warehouse and admin staff with local people already applying for these positions.

Chris Dawson commented: “The St Helens site was just what we were looking for. It won’t stop here, that I can guarantee you. I would like to thank the council for welcoming us to St Helens with such open arms.”

Deputy leader of St Helens Council, Barrie Grunewald, expressed delight that the site will be brought back into retail use. He said: “It is in a key position for town centre trading and this news is a welcome boost.”

Source: St Helens Star

07 June 2012
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