Discount retailer comes to town

DISCOUNT department store chain T J Hughes marked the launch of its 50th store yesterday with the official opening of a new outlet in Ipswich - the company's second-largest in the country.

DISCOUNT department store chain T J Hughes marked the launch of its 50th store yesterday with the official opening of a new outlet in Ipswich - the company's second-largest in the country.

T J Hughes has taken most of the former Allders store in the Buttermarket Shopping Centre, initially trading on two floors with a third level to follow later.

The store, which has created 80 new jobs, represents an investment of £1.4million by the Liverpool-based company which has now opened 12 new shops in as many months and hopes to open a similar number in the coming year as part of a plan to become a national operator.

Chief executive Robin Dickie, who attended yesterday's opening ceremony, said Ipswich was one of the priority locations identified in a study carried out by the company 18 months ago ahead of its planned expansion, taking into account factors such as catchment area, customer profile and growth potential,

The company had then circulated details of its requirements and, by co-incidence, the former Allders store became available at around the same time.

The store, which opened for business a few days ahead of yesterday's official ceremony, carries a wide range of fashion and housewares, offering discount prices on brand names such as Calvin Klein, Triumph, Hush Puppies, Wrangler, Dyson, Electrolux, Bush and Tefal.

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“There are other people who do discount but we are the only discount department store in the UK,” said Mr Dickie.

“Despite being relatively new to the region, we are delighted that the store is already creating such interest in Ipswich. Everyone loves a bargain and, in offering discounts for life and not just for sales, we are committed to ensuring that all our customers' requirements are met in each store we open.”

The Ipswich store also includes a café on the ground floor, with a restaurant and a number of concessions to follow when the third level opens in a few months time. The total workforce is then expected to rise to about 100.

The original T J Hughes store opened in Liverpool in 1912 and until two years ago the chain was largely based in the North-West and the Midlands.

It now aims to establish a national presence and the Ipswich store fills another gap in the network with the next nearest T J Hughes branches being in King's Lynn, Kettering and Romford.