New life for old Woolies

A national retailer is preparing to hand Rugeley a significant jobs boost by opening a new store in place of boarded-up Woolworths.

A national retailer is preparing to hand Rugeley a significant jobs boost by opening a new store in place of boarded-up Woolworths.

Budget clothes firm Peacocks has agreed to move into the old Woolies store in Lower Brook Street, in the town centre, more than a year after the retail chain went bust.

A section of Woolies has been used as an independent bargain shop, Just a Pound, over the last few months.

But the majority of the building has been vacant since the pick-and-mix firm's collapse in December 2008.

Peacocks has lodged plans to renovate the interior of the building and hopes to open its doors by April.

The retailer is unable to confirm the number of jobs its new store will create, but vacancies will be advertised in the Express & Star over the next week.

Shopper Gareth Edwards, of Upfield Way, said today: "The empty shop is starting to become an eyesore. We don't get a lot of new developments in Rugeley town centre so this will be a breath of fresh air.

"The old Woolworths was one of the more popular shops in Rugeley and it's been a black hole ever since."

Councillor Mick Grocott, whose Western Springs ward includes the town centre, said: "It's hopefully going to regenerate the town.

"People were so upset when Woolies closed and were asking what we would do about it.

"It's fantastic that some of the big names are still interested in coming. The jobs boost for Rugeley people is super news."

Rugeley Woolies has taken longer than others to attract a permanent replacement, but it is the first to tempt a clothing retailer like Peacocks, which has 500 branches nationwide.

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