Plans to bring a Next at Home to Burton has moved a step further closer to reality with some of the huge plate glass windows on the front façade now in place.
The high street fashion chain is only weeks from moving into the major unit in Swan Walk just outside Cooper Square shopping centre. The new supersized store will sell clothing and have a Next at Home section, a new addition for Burton shoppers.
The current small clothes-only Next store inside Coopers Square will be closing as part of the move by the retail giant.
Builders have been in place outside Coopers Square for several months as they gutted the units which formerly housed Bhs and Toys R Us, and shoppers have been able to witness the progress of work on the new stores.
Sixty jobs will be created when Next moves in to part of the newly refurbished unit from its current home inside Coopers Square shopping centre, near Primark.
It was revealed in January, that Next would be relocating to the former Bhs store. Bhs closed for good when the clothing and home chain plunged into administration in June last year.
The change in venue for Next has meant Toys R Us, which had been housed in the unit now swallowed up in the development, being forced out, but the toy retailer has no plans to reopen elsewhere in the town.
Next, which will include a homeware section, will take over the floorspace of what was Toys R Us as well as BHS; part of the unit will then be subdivided to include another, as-yet unnamed, retailer.
The planning application to change the façade and subdivide the 44,500 sq ft Bhs store into two units was approved by East Staffordshire Borough Council and reveals the new floorplan includes that of Toys R Us. Neighbouring Poundworld remains unaffected by the change.
Known as the new 'anchor tenant', Next has also requested a new high-quality bespoke glass facade be provided for them fronting the Coopers Square car park.
Coopers Square shopping centre manager Dave Chadfield previously said Next was expected to open to the public in September. He also revealed a second business also had major interest in the neighbouring unit. However, Mr Chadfield has said the identity cannot yet be revealed until everything is signed.
It is hoped another retailer will have been found to fill the current Next store.
The letting of the new store was agreed on behalf of landlord New Frontier Properties by Waypoint Asset Management, the asset manager for Coopers Square shopping centre, and agents Cushman & Wakefield and Lunson Mitchenall.
Mike Riley, chief executive of New Frontier Properties, previously told the Burton Mail in January that this latest deal with Next would not only triple the size of its store in Burton but will also be the catalyst for improvement works in this area of the shopping centre.
He added that they were in discussion with retailers for the remaining 19,500 sq ft in the former Bhs unit and hoped to “announce another deal shortly".
Bhs was a British high street institution until its collapse last year. Here is a timeline of key moments charting the rise and fall of BHS.
1928: British Home Stores is set up in a store in Brixton, south London. Nothing costs more than a shilling.
2014: Bhs makes a cash loss of £21 million in the year to August 2014, compared with £19.3 million in the year earlier.
2015: Sir Philip Green sells Bhs to Retail Acquisitions, led by former bankrupt Dominic Chappell, for £1. Work begins on a turnaround plan to try to bring it back into profitability.
2016: The store is thrown a lifeline in March when creditors back two company voluntary arrangements (CVA) designed to cut costs and prevent widespread store closures.
2016: Bhs collapses into administration in April, sparking an investigation by MPs into Sir Philip and Mr Chappell.
2016: Administrators fail to find a buyer for the firm and in June decide to wind the company down.
July 2016: Burton's Bhs store closes.
January 2017: It is announced Next will moved into Burton's former Bhs store