'˜Excellent news' '“ readers welcome plan for Boyes store in struggling South Shields town centre

A decision by retailer W Boyes and Co to set up shop in struggling South Shields town centre has been met with surprise '“ and delight '“ by Gazette readers.

By The Newsroom
Saturday, 10 March, 2018, 08:00
Former Marks & Spencer store, King Street, South Shields.

They flooded our social media pages to give their views on the company’s plans to open a department store at the former Marks & Spencer site in King Street, which has stood empty for four years.

Some claimed the firm must be off its trolley to even contemplate opening in a street hit by significant recession-related closures.

But others were quick to endorse it, insisting Boyes was a good company and its presence would be a boon to the borough.

On the Gazette’s Facebook page, Kayleigh Cordial claimed Boyes’s presence would be short-lived, adding: “Not enough people go to Shields because it’s full of horrible seagulls and pigeons.”

Sharon Skinner said she would have preferred Primark, insisting: “Boyes isn’t any good for the younger generation.”

In further criticism, Oliver Wallhead commented: “Oh, great a glorified Poundland! We already have a huge Home Bargains”, while Shelley Desborough claimed: “King Street needs a miracle.”

But there was support from Mark Pinckney, who said: “This is good news as King Street and Fowler Street resemble post-industrial, downtown derelict Detroit.”

And Elizabeth Wilson added: “Love Boyes, their Chester-le-Street shop is excellent. I’m delighted they’re opening one here.”

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Rob James described Boyes as a “decent discount store”, while Nikki Brockbank and Joyce Weir said it was a “great shop”.

Also looking at the positives was Christine Young-Brown, who said: “At least something is opening up”, while Gary Roberts added: “An excellent all-round shop, at least it’s a start”.

On the parking front, John Brown said, “Can I be the first to mention free parking?”

His view was mirrored by Clare Gough, who said: “If they had free parking like Jarrow and Washington, more people might go.”

The Gazette revealed yesterday that Boyes had confirmed it would take over the M&S site, which has been empty for four years.

The company, which operatesmore than 50 stores, hopes to be open for business by the summer. Up to 25 part-time jobs, and two full-time roles, are expected to be created.

The retailer’s product range includes home and gardening equipment and furniture, health and beauty, clothing, footwear and pet supplies.