A leading sports chain due to open a new store in Uttoxeter has still not signed on the dotted line, it has been claimed.

Just a few weeks ago, signs went up in the old Co-op unit in the Maltings, in the town centre, announcing Sports Direct was moving in and recruiting for new jobs.

Mayor Alison Trenery said the move could kick-start a revival for town centre commerce in Uttoxeter.

But signs saying 'Sports Direct opening soon', which had been installed on the unit, have since been taken down.

When our reporter visited the unit on Monday, October 9, the 'opening soon' signs were still down.

Sports Direct put up signs announcing it was coming to Uttoxeter
Sports Direct put up signs announcing it was coming to Uttoxeter

Now the agent letting out the shop says the contract for the unit is still to be signed by both parties.

David Reece, director of Johnston and Co, said: "Co-op signed, but Sports Direct have not."

The Uttoxeter Advertiser has approached Sports Direct to clarify the situation and the firm has not provided a comment.

Central England Co-operative, which owns the building, is also remaining tight-lipped about what the latest is.

A spokesman for the Co-op said: "At this stage, we would prefer not to comment in relation to the future of the Maltings site, in Uttoxeter."

Traders in the Maltings had told of their excitement about Sports Direct's impending arrival.

Craig Pratley, of Pitstop Barbers, in the Maltings, Uttoxeter
Craig Pratley, of Pitstop Barbers, in the Maltings, Uttoxeter

But Craig Pratley, owner of Pitstop Barbers, which is opposite the Co-op building, said: "I couldn’t believe it when Sports Direct put the signs up to say they were coming in just opposite my business.

"I was so pleased when the signs went up. But then, equally, I couldn’t believe it when they were suddenly taken down again. I was so hopeful them moving in would provide a massive boost for me, other businesses in the Maltings and all the shops in town."