THE MAYOR of Hastings formally opened a new homeware store yesterday (Thursday) which has created 98 jobs.
Councillor Alan Roberts officially opened the doors of the Dunelm Mill store at 9am yesterday on the old Focus DIY site in Sedlescombe Road North.
A new Pets at Home store opened on the same site on January 25 creating 10 jobs.
It is a welcome boost for the area after last month’s announcement by the borough council that it is shedding 40 jobs. Focus DIY closed its store in Sedlescombe Road North in 2011 after the firm filed for administration. Around 30 jobs were lost. The company blamed falling sales brought on by the ongoing economic recession.
Dunelm Mill is one of the UK’s leading homeware stores selling everything from cookware to curtains. It has a range of more than 20,000 home furnishing products in the store which measures 33,900 sq ft.
The company has created a total of 98 jobs both part time and full time. The original prediction for jobs when the scheme was first unveiled back in September was 70.
The opening comes on the back of a terrible start to the new year for trade in Hastings.
Jessops and Blockbuster were both forced to close last month after going into administration.
HMV in Priory Meadow Shopping Centre has gone into administration but is continuing to trade.
Jeremy Birch, leader of the council, welcomed the opening of the two stores.
He said: “It is very important that an empty site like this is turned around quickly and we have managed to get that done. It is one of the gateways to our towns and we don’t want visitors to see a closed down, empty store when they first arrive.
“It’s a very welcome jobs boost after the town centre closures of last month.
“We want Hastings and St Leonards people to spend their money in this town and we have a good mix of independent shops and multiples here.”
HMV began accepting gift vouchers in its stores from January 21 after its administrator Deloitte previously stated they could not be redeemed.
All its branches continue to trade.