New Lichfield Debenhams will be given more space

Debenhams today revealed that its new store in Staffordshire will be even bigger than first planned and create extra jobs.

The new Lichfield branch has been extended to include a third floor, cafe and homeware department.

It will now also employ 85 people, 15 more than was first announced.

Staff recruitment and building work is already underway on the 31,500 sq ft store, which is due to open its doors for business in May.

Debenhams revealed last summer it was taking over the former TJ Hughes store in Lichfield’s Three Spires Shopping Centre. The unit off Birmingham Road had been empty since the budget chain collapsed two years ago.

The company said the new third floor would guarantee a better shopping experience for customers.

Store manager Sam Zeen said: “People have already been telling me what a great addition Debenhams will be to Lichfield and adding an additional floor of shopping space for our customers makes it even more exciting, we can’t wait to get the doors open.

“It’s great, especially in the current climate, to be expanding and investing in new areas and creating new jobs. I’m excited about building the Lichfield store team and working with local people to create a fantastic shopping experience.”

The departments will include a cosmetics and fragrance hall, womenswear, menswear, lingerie, accessories and childrenswear. Brands include Designers at Debenhams, John Rocha, Ben de Lisi and Jasper Conran.

The chain already has stores at Walsall, Merry Hill, Kidderminster and Birmingham. The Walsall store is earmarked for a major revamp, including new and improved restaurant.

And the expansion of the Lichfield store builds on a strong performance for Debenhams in recent months.

In January, the department store chain hailed its best-ever December performance after ramping up pre-Christmas discounting to attract cost-conscious shoppers.

The group cut prices by up to 50 per cent in one-day promotions on some products in what chief executive Michael Sharp said was the most competitive Christmas in his 37-year career in retail.

It said shoppers were more “canny” and left shopping until much later in the hope of picking up bargains ahead of Christmas as well as during the traditional sale period.