Supermarket giant Morrisons rumoured to be in talks over Dorothy Perkins unitBy Jon Nurse
March 20, 2013
Supermarket chain Morrisons is believed to be in talks to take over the former Dorothy Perkins and Burton unit in Wokingham town centre.
The retailer is understood to be negotiating a lease with the landlord for the large Market Place shop, a move that would fit its strategy of expanding its number of convenience stores and selling online.
But a supermarket wouldn’t be the first choice for Wokingham Chamber of Commerce president Mark Walton, who feels another big name would be good news for the town.
Mr Walton said: “With anyone that moves in, especially the big chains, they will have done their homework and will know that after set-up costs there is the market in Wokingham.
“The size of the unit is bigger than most of the others in the town centre so I would be surprised to see an independent retailer get in there.
“Whoever moves in would have to do a really good job because people could so easily go to Waitrose or Morrisons in Woosehill.”
He added: “I’d rather not see it as a supermarket but it’s more important that we have all our shops occupied and that it’s a quality retailer.”
Morrisons is investing heavily in expanding its portfolio of Morrisons M local stores and has bought 49 Blockbuster stores, six HMV stores and seven Jessops shops nationwide after the chains closed shops.
Morrisons chief executive Dalton Philips said: “We are ready to accelerate the development of our multi-channel presence and our convenience operation is gaining real momentum, acquiring more than 60 new sites in recent weeks alone.
“We are therefore increasing our target for store openings in the coming year by 40 per cent and plan to have 100 stores trading by the end of the year.”
Dorothy Perkins and Burton closed in January, signalling the loss of 10 jobs in the town.
When The Wokingham Times asked its readers what retailer they’d like to see occupy the unit, a butchers, Primark or an Ann Summers were the most popular choices.