What next for TJ Hughes building in Chesterfield as department store closes?

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Business leaders have urged people in Chesterfield to ‘shop local’ after it was revealed a major town centre store was closing.

Department store chain TJ Hughes is set to shut its Vicar Lane branch and appoint administrators for a ‘small number’ of its stores nationwide.

Chesterfield shoppers have raised concerns about the number of empty shops in the town centre and there are fears about the impact of such a prominent store closing.

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TJ Hughes when it was opened in Chesterfield in 2017.TJ Hughes when it was opened in Chesterfield in 2017.
TJ Hughes when it was opened in Chesterfield in 2017.

But Dominic Stevens, Destination Chesterfield manager, said steps were already being taken to evolve the town centre.

“High street retailers nationwide are facing challenges amidst changing shopping habits,” he said.

“Chesterfield is responding to the challenges and increasing footfall through special events and developing our town centre mix of businesses.

“The ability of our town to thrive rather than just survive is down to residents and I would urge them always to consider shopping local.”

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Councillor Terry Gilby, Chesterfield Borough Council’s cabinet member for economic development, said: “It is always disappointing to see a retail outlet close down in a time where British high streets are facing many challenges.

“However, Chesterfield’s town centre overall shop unit vacancy rate remains lower than the current national average of 12 per cent.

“We will continue to work with local businesses and organisations to offer any support we can, to ensure the long-term viability of the town centre as a place to visit, shop and socialise.”

On social media, residents called for the vacant shop to be filled quickly or even replaced with an ice rink.

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Stephanie Winnard posted on our Facebook page: “I watched a programme the other week in a town like ours where a big department store closed and they built an ice rink with classes for everone.”

Jason Quick said: “Another high street store gone, people complain about the high street being dead but if the shops were used, they wouldn't be closing.”

Directors of TJ Hughes Outlet Division said: “We are extremely saddened by the need to take this decision, and it hasn’t been taken lightly. However, the retail world is changing quickly, and it is necessary for our business to evolve.”