A MASSIVE department store is set to open its doors this year creating 150 new jobs.
Debenhams plans to open the store at Cheshire Oaks less than 12 months after rival Marks & Spencer opened its huge flagship store opposite.
The retailer has dismissed speculation over the future of the Browns of Chester store and said it was fully committed to remaining in the city centre.
Debenhams said the new store would complement Browns of Chester, which has been trading in the city since the 18th century before being acquired by the chain in 1976.
Two vacant units on The Coliseum are to be merged to create the two-storey 60,000 sq ft store and cafe which will sell clothing for women, men and children along with home furnishings and beauty products.
Retail consultants RPS said Debenhams had invested in its Browns of Chester store and pointed out retailers Marks & Spencer, Next and H&M all have stores in the city centre and at Cheshire Oaks.
Their report states: “Debenhams do not expect the proposed store to have any significant trading consequences for its Chester city centre store Browns of Chester to which it remains fully committed.
“Browns of Chester serves a different catchment area and customer base to the proposed store. This mirrors Marks & Spencer’s commitment to develop a flagship store at Cheshire Oaks while maintaining and investing in its Chester city centre stores.”
The new store, which is expected to open later this year, will provide The Coliseum with a welcome boost following the recent closures of the JJB Sports and HMV stores.
The plans also involve alterations to car parking at the shopping park and won support from Ellesmere Port and Neston MP Andrew Miller and the Ellesmere Port Development Board.
More than 500 jobs were created when Marks & Spencer opened its 148,000 sq ft store in August and the firm has since reported sales are about 30 per cent ahead of target.
The retailer has also reiterated its commitment to retaining its stores in Chester city centre.
The new Debenhams store at Cheshire Oaks is one of 17 planned to open across the UK in the next five years creating about 1,700 jobs in total.