It’s official – Home Bargains will take over the former Tesco in the Arndale Centre as part of a £5m investment in Morecambe.
Rumours have been circulating for months but we can now confirm the deal is done for the discount chain to open – possibly by the end of March.
A handover to Home Bargains was due to take place today.
Meanwhile sportswear chain Top Grade Sports will also be part of a new-look Arndale.
Billed as ‘the UK’s number one sports fashion wholesaler’, Top Grade Sports will open a new Morecambe shop in the former Superdrug unit in early February.
Top Grade Sports sells brand names like Nike, Adidas, Reebok and Umbro at discount prices.
The Arndale shopping shake-up will coincide with a major upgrade of the centre.
New toilets will be built between The Works shop and the former Slater’s amusements.
In a trendy refurb inspired by Morecambe-born designer Wayne Hemingway, the Market Street entrance and nearby shop fronts will get a makeover, a new modern layout is planned for the steps and ramp outside the entrance next to Argos. New state-of-the-art signs and dedicated artwork walls are also in the pipeline.
The Market Street entrance canopy will be demolished and empty shop units will be knocked through to create bigger spaces for restaurants or cafes.
Renovation work is due to start around the same time as Home Bargains moves in.
Home Bargains will also open a second Morecambe store on Westgate. They have planning permission to demolish the old Focus DIY store to build a new shop and car park, creating 70 jobs.
It is believed Home Bargains will move out of its current shop on the Euston Road shopping precinct.
Staff and customers of Tesco were shocked last year when the Arndale’s flagship store shut down just weeks after the centre was bought by NewRiver Retail in a £14m deal.
The Tesco store in the Arndale closed on April 4 2015 and there was immediate speculation about a replacement.
But Arndale bosses were cagey about revealing the identity while final legal terms were agreed.
Home Bargains’ parent company TJ Morris was unavailable for comment as we went to press.