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Wilkinson breathes new life into old town centre store

MORE than 60 jobs will be created with the opening of a store in Kenilworth.

And with national chain Wilkinson open for business in the old Budgen store, it will see Kenilworth with one of the lowest empty shops rates in the country.

Kenilworth town centre manager David Butler said: “Wilkinson opening is definitely good news for the town.

“The vacancy rate is now around the two per cent mark. For medium-size market towns like us, the national average is 10 to 12 per cent, so we are doing very well

“Wilkinson will be 12,000 feet of retail space, putting into use a building that has been empty for some years.”

Recent additions to the town centre’s shopping and eating scene include national hardware and home products chain Robert Dyas, which took over the old Woolworths in Warwick Road.

And Beef has taken over the former Italian restaurant in Warwick Road, while The Kitchen Thai restaurant is trading in Millar Court.

Mr Butler added: “We still have some empty units – the Old Emporium shop in Warwick Road and She Bar, Station Road.

“I’ve been told that bars and restaurants tend to go in the summer, so, hopefully, it will go this summer.

“The old She Bar is a lovely old building – it’s a shame to see it empty.”

The She Bar was housed in what was once the booking hall for Kenilworth’s first railway station.

Wilkinson plans to open in Station Road on April 20 and will have 64 staff.

It has 348 stores across the country and its products include decorating tools, garden seeds and furniture, home accessories, beauty brands and toiletries.

A company spokeswoman said: “Wilkinson chose Kenilworth as it meets the demographic profile we have been looking for.

“The town has a healthy mix of national and local retailers and the property itself has the benefit of an adjacent customer car park.”

Kenilworth Mayor Susan Howell will help celebrate the official opening, along with members of the Hoei Juku karate club, of Kenilworth, who will officially “karate chop” the ribbon to open the store.

Wilkinson has teamed up with Clinton Primary School, where reception and year one pupils are taking part in an Easter competition.

The firm has donated arts and crafts equipment to the school and tasked the children with drawing Easter-related pictures, which will be put on store display.

The first 50 customers through the door will receive a bag of Wilkinson products.

Source : Kenilworth Weekly News

01 April 2011
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