Homeware giant B&M will open in Ashford’s former Woolworths store next month, it has been revealed.
Bosses at the national discount chain, which was set up in 1978, will throw open the doors of the High Street premises on Friday, November 17, creating 40 jobs.
Council chiefs say the news is a major vote of confidence in the town centre, as B&M is best known for opening stores at out-of-town retail parks.
Cllr Graham Galpin, Ashford Borough Council portfolio holder for the town centre, welcomed the new arrival, saying: “I am very pleased B&M is opening in the town centre.
“Their business model usually involves out-of-town stores, so it is a big step forward that they have chosen to open a shop in the centre of Ashford.
“It has been a prominent bargain shop for a while ever since Woolworths was there, and it makes me very proud to see the shop full again.”
Woolworths shut up shop on New Year’s Eve in 2008 after administrators for the ailing company could not find a buyer, closing 807 stores across the country.
The store reopened as a 99p Store in 2009, but became Poundland last year when the 99p Store business was taken over.
The shop has sat empty since Poundland closed in July, with bosses focusing on their store
in the former JJB Sports shop in County Square instead.
Cllr Galpin added: “When I see a shop is empty in the town, I get upset and angry.
“It is frustrating that I can’t wave a magic wand and change it, but I am delighted to see a new business going in there now.
“You have to be patient with these things and I welcome all new retailers and leisure developments in the town centre.”
A B&M spokesman said customers can expect toys, food and drink, health and beauty, homewares and a pet range.
The firm already has an out-of-town store on the Ashford Retail Park in Sevington.
The spokesman said: “We are feeling really positive about the creation of even more jobs for local people and we hope customers are going to be delighted with their new store.
“We are all excited to get the doors open and welcome our new customers through the door in a few weeks.”
Jobs at the store are being advertised on the B&M careers website, ranging from sales assistant to floor managers and cleaners.
Visit www.bmstores.co.uk/careers for details.