Debenhams is to open a three-level department store in Wolverhampton under a £30 million redevelopment of the Mander Centre, it can be revealed today.
The retail giant will anchor a long-awaited revamp of the shopping centre, trading from a new 93,000 sq ft store that will connect the lower mall, upper mall and car park levels.
It is scheduled to open in 2017. At the same time, owners Delancey say there will be a ‘substantial configuration of much of the centre’ creating 10 other large retail units, including three large stores of between 17,000 sq ft and 26,000 sq ft.
Further works will be carried out to including new escalators, as well as lifts to the car park. The department store will take over the unit occupied by Home Living and before that, TJ Hughes. Existing traders such as BHS, Boots, New Look, HMV, JD, Waterstones, Starbucks and Costa, as well as Deichmann and The Entertainer, will continue to trade as normal during the proposed works.
Steve Burgin, director of retail asset management at Delancey, said: “The introduction of Debenhams to Wolverhampton and the Mander Centre is the first step in the regeneration of the city centre that will encourage other major retail brands to invest in the city and allow Wolverhampton to regain its status as the retail capital of the Black Country.”
Gareth Dougherty, acquisitions manager at Debenhams, said: “We are delighted to bring Debenhams and its Designers to Wolverhampton. Alongside robust growth in our multi-channel offering, we believe combining the refurbishment exercise with a new Debenhams department store will greatly enhance the shopping experience for the people of Wolverhampton.”
Debenhams has been interested in Wolverhampton for years but has never before confirmed that it would open a store. It was originally considered as the flagship for the £300 million Summer Row shopping centre project, which was scrapped in 2011.
The city council’s regeneration boss Councillor Peter Bilson said: “This is a great opportunity for Wolverhampton.”