BOSSES at a major phone supplier say they are looking forward to re-connecting with shoppers in South Tyneside.
Vodafone is moving back into King Street, in South Shields.
The store, which will be on the site of the former Internacionale clothes shop, is set to open its doors on Thursday, August 28, and create five new jobs.
It is welcome news for King Street which has seen a number of high-profile stores leave in recent years, including HMV, Mothercare and Marks & Spencer.
Anna Rafizadeh currently manages the company’s store in Bishop Auckland, but will be coming to run the new shop in South Shields.
She said: “We’re investing in opening another 150 stores throughout the UK, which will create another 4,500 jobs.
“The store in South Shields will generate five new jobs and two of those are still vacant.
“We’ve been on King Street before, but the shop closed about four years ago and I think we should never have left.
“This opportunity came to open a store again and going back to King Street was what we wanted to do – we want to be right in the heart of people.
“We didn’t want to be in some business park somewhere with all the big corporations, we want to be right there where the people are.
“We’ve got a lot of customers in South Shields who are currently travelling to Sunderland and Newcastle, so we’re looking forward to getting back to them.”
Staff are going to celebrate the opening with a special ribbon cutting ceremony and by raising money for a local charity.
Coun John Anglin, lead member for regeneration and economy, said: “We’re delighted to welcome Vodafone back to King Street.
“A key element of our £100m South Shields 365 masterplan is giving the private sector the confidence to invest and share in our vision for the future of the town centre.
“The fortunes of the high street are gradually changing, and Vodafone’s decision to return is a sign that we are heading in the right direction.
“We know that South Shields is a strong retail location and hope that Vodafone’s move will be a great success.”