Derby’s retail scene has been given a major boost today, with news that Lee Longlands has signed a deal to move into the iconic Co-Op building on Exchange Street in Derby.
The independent retailer, which celebrated 110 years in business in 2012, is investing £1.7m into creating a 65,000 sq ft home department store in the heart of the City that will offer local people a unique collection of quality furniture, lighting, carpets, linens, accessories, cookshop items and small electrical appliances.
More than 35 new jobs are expected to be created as part of the deal and an extensive fit-out programme will start shortly to create a ‘destination’ shopping venue to rival anything currently available in the East Midlands.
“We are really excited to be returning to Derby and providing a retail offer that is currently missing in the City,” explained Darren Campo, Financial Director at Lee Longlands.
“This is the biggest investment we’ve made in over a decade and, when launched, will become Derbyshire’s biggest home department store spanning four levels and offering an eclectic mix of styles, brand names and exciting new ranges.”
He continued: “We want to make the shopping experience fun again, combining product with value for money, service with style, not to mention giving consumers the chance to buy furniture and furnishings they would not usually find locally.”
Lee Longlands had trialed a much smaller offer in the nearby Westfield Shopping Centre in 2010 and this played a major part in informing its decision to choose Derby as its only presence in the East Midlands – joining its flagship Birmingham store and other outlets in Cheltenham, Leamington Spa and Oxfordshire.
The Exchange Street store will target the mid to premium end of the market and feature designer brand names from around the world and the best of British, such as Brintons, Ercol, G Plan, Parker Knoll and Vi-Spring.
In what is a slight change in direction, the firm is also planning to provide dedicated cookshop and giftware sections.
Darren picked up the story: “The East Midlands has been a target for us for some time now; it was just really a question of finding the right space and location.
“We feel we have found this in the old Co-op store, which is one of Derby’s most iconic buildings. It gives us the flexibility to create a fantastic shopping experience and we are ploughing £1.7m into new staff, recruitment, training, stock, promotion and the extensive fit out, which will give it the Lee Longlands ‘look and feel’
He concluded: “A significant TV, press and radio campaign will be launched to support our move into the East Midlands and we may also have a few social media campaigns to look out for.”