Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

PS3.4m Store Welcomes First Customers

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

PS3.4m Store Welcomes First Customers

Article excerpt

Byline: JAMES CAIN james.cain@trinitymirror.com @JIMMYMCAIN

SUPERMARKET giant Lidl opened the doors to a new PS3.4m store following the closure of a town centre branch.

At 8am yesterday, the German food retailer's new Stockton store welcomed its first customers after it was officially opened by Mayor Ken Dixon.

Featuring 146 parking spaces, an in-store bakery, wide aisles and an energy efficient glass-fronted facade, Lidl's new store has been built on the site of the former Nifco factory on Yarm Road.

The discount chain says the new foodstore, which has taken nine months to build, will create up to 40 new jobs and will serve south Stockton, Ingleby Barwick, Yarm and Eaglescliffe.

Cllr Dixon said: "It's open, bright, brand new and, being bigger and wider, it's a different concept for Lidl.

"It's bringing jobs - it's good for the area."

But the opening coincides with the closure of Lidl's store in Stockton town centre.

A report by Stockton Council on the economic impact of a new Lidl store warned that the Wellington Square Lidl store was one of the "biggest drivers of footfall" for Stockton town centre. It added that the closure of the Wellington Square store would "significantly undermine the vitality and viability of Stockton town centre".

The first customer through the doors yesterday was 74-year-old Frank Taylor from Thornaby.

"I was the first one over," said Frank. "I've just come to have a look around this morning.

"It's all right - but I liked the one that closed down to be honest.

"I have to get another bus to come here.

"I'll still go into Stockton myself, but I don't know how it will affect the town centre."

Last year, the owners of Wellington Square, M&M Asset Management, raised concerns over Lidl's failure to renew its lease on the Stockton town centre store - which expired in September. …

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