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JD Sports to fill vacant Peacocks store in Bouverie Place Shopping Centre in Folkestone

By Molly Mileham-Chappell

A sports fashion retailer has been confirmed to fill a vacant shopping centre unit, just days after it closed.

JD Sports will fill the empty unit left by Peacocks in Bouverie Place shopping centre in Folkestone.

The store closed on Saturday months after first launching a 'closing down sale'.

Bouverie place shopping centre in Folkestone. Picture: Gary Browne
Bouverie place shopping centre in Folkestone. Picture: Gary Browne

Vacancies for a Folkestone JD Sports store are being advertised on the retailers website.

It comes after comments on social media speculated that sports brand would fill the space.

A JD Sports spokesman confirmed that the store will open in the late summer.

A spokeswoman for Ellandi, the community shopping centre investor appointed in 2013 to manage the 226,500 sq ft shopping centre, was unable to comment.

Richard Hutchinson, asset manager, said: "It is with regret that Peacocks will be leaving the shopping centre but we are excited to soon welcome a new sports fashion business to the town which I am sure our customers will love.”

A spokeswoman for Bouverie Place was unable to comment further on the name of the new retailer.

JD Sports has made national headlines today following a report of its final year results to February 2019 today, which shows that the company had a strong performance on the high street, with pre-tax profits rising 15.4% to £339.9m.

Revenue rose by almost 50% to £4.7bn, while the retailer also celebrated a net increase of 39 stores across Europe.

Peter Cowgill, executive chairman, said: "We are pleased with the continued underlying positive performance of the group and are excited by the major developments ahead."

Currently, the nearest JD Sports store to Folkestone is based in Ashford, which opened in the former Mothercare store in County Square in October 2017.

Ashford County Square's JD Sports when it opened in 2017. Picture: Paul Amos FM4957578
Ashford County Square's JD Sports when it opened in 2017. Picture: Paul Amos FM4957578

It emerged in December last year that the clothing chain Peacocks could be shutting the branch after signs appeared advertising a 'closing down sale'.

Large red posters in the windows with a footnote added that the closure was be 'subject to landlord negotiation'.

A spokesman for the company said: "I can confirm the store did close on Saturday. Peacocks aren’t commenting any further on this."

Peacocks would not confirm if jobs have been lost, or how many people have been affected.

Peacocks in Folkestone reveals 'closing down sale' (5818107)
Peacocks in Folkestone reveals 'closing down sale' (5818107)

It was previously confirmed that the company were 'constantly reviewing costs' to ensure 'long term profitability', and noted that store closures were part of this plan.

The news comes just days after fears were raised about the future of Folkestone's flagship store, Debenhams, after the company fell into administration.

It is the second brand located in Bouverie Place to close in less than a year. Next left the shopping centre in July but all 24 jobs were saved by transfers to Dover at the new St James Retail Park store.

Bouverie Place shopping centre opened in the town in November 2007 and the £30m complex took two years to build. Next had been on the site in Alexandra Gardens since its opening.

Choice Discount Store filled the empty unit a few weeks later.

Peacocks was established in Warrington in 1884, as a family run business selling a wide range of goods.

In January 2012, Peacocks entered administration and was bought by The Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group which also owns the Jane Norman chain.

The chain currently employs over 6,000 people and there are currently over 400 Peacocks retail outlets located in the UK.

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