A BOOMING woman’s fashion retailer made a comeback in South Tyneside today – providing a pre-Christmas tonic to a struggling borough high street.
It’s just a few short weeks since the Dorothy Perkins clothes store closed its doors in King Street, South Shields.
The departure was just the latest exit from the retail thoroughfare, following on from the departures of big brands such as Mothercare and, most notably, Marks & Spencer.
However, the gap in the market has already been filled after fashion retailer Select moved into the vacant property and opened its doors today.
The new premises is part of Select’s ambitious expansion plans, announced last year, to open 200 new stores over the next five years.
The retailer, which targets fashion-conscious shoppers on a budget, has set itself a target of opening 40 stores per year.
In addition to the latest South Shields branch, there’s a new outlet in Gateshead and another to follow in Bishop Auckland later this month.
The company is no stranger to King Street, up until 2008 it was based in what is now the Greenwoods store.
At the time it went into administration and the store closed.
A revamp in recent years has seen the company grow from strength to strength.
Sarah Jenkinson, a store manager from Middlesbrough who has been overseeing the opening of the new premises, said: “We’re delighted to be returning to South Shields as part of our ambitious expansion programme, and because we’re so close to Christmas we have lots of festive stock.
“We will be delighted to welcome customers old and new.”
Select’s chief executive, Cafer Mahiroglu, said: “Select has emerged as an ongoing success story in the battered high street retail market.
“As evidence suggests, in recessionary times there is sustained, even growing demand for a viable alternative on the high street for trend-driven, affordable fashion product.”
Coun John Anglin, the council’s lead member for Regeneration and Economy, said: “We’re delighted to welcome Select back to South Shields town centre, especially just in time for Christmas, and wish them every success in their new branch on 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 last few years have been extremely challenging for retail but we are starting to see the green shoots of recovery on our high streets.”