Sports Direct superstore for Century Retail Park set to create 18 jobs
A NEW branch of Sports Direct is poised to open at a retail park, creating at least 18 jobs.
Plans have been put forward for a warehouse-sized branch of the budget sportswear store at the Century Retail Park in Hanley.
An application to redevelop a vacant unit has been submitted to Stoke-on-Trent City Council's planning committee and, if approved, the store will have two storeys and a customer lift.
The new branch is intended to complement the smaller Sports Direct store in the Potteries Shopping Centre.
As well as 18 full-time jobs, a number of part-time roles will be created and the store will have a potential annual turnover of just under £1 million.
The proposal comes just weeks after a Sports Direct, in Barn Road, Congleton, closed down, although branches remain in Newcastle, Longton and Stafford.
Shoppers at Century Retail Park, in New Century Street, which also has a Next, Burger King and Staples office supplies, have welcomed the plans.
Father-of-two Darren Fisher, aged 42, of Crewe Road, Alsager, said: "I like Sports Direct, they have some good deals and it sounds like a good way to fill up some of this vacant space."
Joseph Blaize, a 20-year-old business and marketing student of Stone, said: "There's a lot of space that seems to need something doing to it here so this is great."
Jayne Dawson, aged 46, a manager at the nearby Staples, said: "I'm pleased because apart from anything else it will create extra footfall for the whole retail park."
A statement contained in the planning documents said: "This proposal represents an 'easy win' in terms of job creation.
"The introduction of Sports Direct is seen as a catalyst to occupation of the remaining retail units at Century Retail Park. This modest development is, therefore, the key to significant job creation and economic activity.
"Sports Direct also operates a store in the Potteries Shopping Centre and it is the intention to complement this city centre presence with a larger store at Century Retail Park.
"Indeed, many retailers now use such a strategy as it provides them with brand presence in the high-footfall city centre, but also allows them to provide their full range of stock and to serve a greater number of customers."
The plans come as Sports Direct has reported strong growth in quarterly sales and profit.
The group, owned by Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley, said sales for the nine weeks to March 25 reached £267.6 million, up 13 per cent compared with the same period last year. Gross profit rose 13.5 per cent to £99.8 million.