NEWCASTLE United owner Mike Ashley has his sights set on getting a result in South Tyneside.
It’s sportswear, not football, he will be promoting when his company Sports Direct opens a new outlet in King Street, South Shields.
The firm acquired 20 stores when rival company JJB Sports went into administration late last year.
One of the JJB premises taken over is the South Shields store.
Shopfitters moved in this week, the name at the front of the store has already been changed and it is understood it could be open by the weekend.
Ten jobs were lost when JJB closed its doors at the beginning of October.
In total about 2,200 staff – including 91 in the North East – lost their jobs when JJB crashed.
The latest development is a shot in the arm for South Shields’s main shopping thoroughfare.
Recent closures have included the Bay Biscuit Company. Flossys shoe shop and Thompsons electrical store.
Meanwhile, the street’s HMV outlet is to close soon.
News of Sports Direct’s imminent arrival in King Street was welcomed by another trader in the street, Gavin Holder, owner of GHI Computers.
He said: “King Street is in dire need of retail diversity. Considering the raft of retailers leaving of late, it’s great news.
“Sports Direct is the largest retailer in its field in the UK.
“It occupying one of maybe a dozen now empty retail units on King Street prevents another charity, pound, betting or mobile phone shop opening up and further signalling the demise of what has always been known primarily as the town’s high street.
“It’s most definitely a step in the right direction.”
No one from Sports Direct was available for comment.