TK Maxx move for Gloucester stalled?
FEARS that TK Maxx may be getting cold feet over a move to Gloucester is worrying city business leaders.
The high street fashion outlet was due to take over the former Marks & Spencer store in Northgate Street this month but there's little sign, if any, of it opening.
It is believed the date it may open has been pushed back to October but TK Maxx refused to comment.
Gloucester City Council leader Paul James hopes the deal is still on.
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"TK Maxx would be a popular addition to Gloucester's retail offer," he said.
"I would very much hope they are still coming to the city. Sometimes deals of this nature have obstacles which take time to overcome, like M&S when it relocated to Eastgate Street.
"I hope it's only a delay, rather than them not coming at all."
On Thursday, the Western Gazette revealed TK Maxx is to open a 20,000sq ft store in Yeovil.
In September, it was announced in a trade journal that the Watford-based company had signed a 10-year lease with M&S and will pay £300,000 a year to rent 17,600sq ft space in Gloucester.
Then, a TK Maxx spokesman said it was "very excited to be opening a new store in Gloucester and bringing shoppers our unique shopping concept of savings of up to 60 per cent off the RRP."
M&S consolidated its Northgate and Southgate stores in the former Woolworths shop in July last year.
A source at another major city retail landlord said times are tough on the high street, and some big names are looking abroad.
"It would not surprise me in this tough economic climate, when the likes of Republic and Animal cannot make it work," said Mark Owen, chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses in Gloucester.
"It's not just Gloucester, but nationally. I still believe that Gloucester is riding the tide over other cities but all city centres need to change and adapt in order to survive."
Cheryl Lawrence, director of The Vision Centre in Northgate Street, said it needs a major name in that space.
"We would be really disappointed if they were not coming," she said.
"It's a large store, opposite Debenhams and it's such a shame to empty."
A TK Maxx spokeswoman was unable to respond to The Citizen's inquiries on the matter.