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Next clothes store moves to St James' Dover after leaving Bouverie Place in Folkestone

By Sam Lennon

Clothing giant Next has opened a store at a new retail development.

The retailer is one of the last to launch at the St James' shopping park in Dover.

It welcomed its first customers at 10am after Sue Chandler, chairman of Dover District Council, formally cut the ribbon.

Sue Chandler, chairman of Dover District Council, cuts the ribbon. Picture: Paul Amos
Sue Chandler, chairman of Dover District Council, cuts the ribbon. Picture: Paul Amos

The opening comes after it closed its branch at the Bouverie Place Shopping Centre in Folkestone last Saturday.

All 24 staff from there kept their jobs by going to the £53 million St James' retail and leisure development off Woolcomber Street.

They were joined by seven new colleagues.

Annabelle Wolfe, the new store's manager, said: "The St James' development was a big draw for us, which is why we came.

"This is Next's first store in the town and we welcome everyone to come along and have a look."

Sue Chandler, chairman of Dover District Council, right, with store manager Annabelle Wolfe. Picture: Paul Amos
Sue Chandler, chairman of Dover District Council, right, with store manager Annabelle Wolfe. Picture: Paul Amos
Next's first customers in Dover. Picture: Paul Amos
Next's first customers in Dover. Picture: Paul Amos

This branch, on two levels, is exactly 11,430 sq ft, slightly bigger than the 10,000 sq ft Folkestone one and also has the addition of a Costa Coffee outlet.

Sales manager Lauren Firmager, 24, moved from Folkestone having been in the company for eight years.

She said: "We had lots of positions available here in Dover so people got the option. They could change their contracts or move over as they were.

"It's been a long process but we're so excited that we are here now."

One of the first customers was Marie Hamm who until now travelled all the way to Canterbury to use Next.

This branch is just a few hundred yards away from here home at the Gateway flats.

She said: "It's lovely here, there is a great selection and it's so nice to have another clothes shop in Dover. I love that there is also a kids' and home selection.

"I am sure I will use this store regularly as it's so near."

Dover's first Next store is at the St James' development. Picture: Paul Amos
Dover's first Next store is at the St James' development. Picture: Paul Amos

The first business to open at St James' was Cineworld on March 9 and since then several other leading brands arrived such as the Travelodge hotel in April and Marks and Spencer in May.

The last couple of units at St James' are expected to be filled shortly.

Meanwhile Next in Folkestone will be replaced by another clothing and home accessories, business, Choice Discount Stores.

That will open on Thursday, August 9, creating 28 jobs.

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