Published: 09:10, 21 February 2017
A Marks & Spencer Foodhall is to move into a unit on the site of the old B&Q store on Strood Retail Park.
The High Street chain has applied to Medway Council for the first steps of their plans to move on to the retail site and applied for permission for signage.
The new store will also include an M&S cafe.
It comes as M&S has begun a trial scheme to increase the size of its food halls and cut back on the space it devotes to fashion as its clothing sales continue to slump.
The retailer has already lined up eight stores where it will increase the amount of floorspace for its upmarket food range over the next six months.
It is now examining how many more could be rejigged to bolster its struggling sales and profit performance.
The strategy is being developed as the company is expected to reveal another dive in fashion sales over the key three months to 26 December. Sales from stores – rather than online – are expected to be down by as much as 10%.
The long-awaited news for Strood Retail Park comes as work on the discount Gym Group is nearing completion and is inviting people to sign up.
Last week it was confirmed electronics specialists Maplin is also moving into the new units where B&Q used to be.
The DIY store and garden centre closed in January last year, after 30 years. The building was subsequently knocked down and rebuilt to create a two-storey building.
The work at the retail park also includes an overhaul of the car park. The initial phase has now been completed
The Gym Group will operate on the upper floor and there will be three shops below.
The target date for completion is late May.
More by this authorNicola Jordan