Middlesbrough’s TJ Hughes confirms 3 October reopening date – with Birkenhead to follow
TJ Hughes, the discount department store chain, has announced that its Middlesbrough store will reopen next week, at 10am on Wednesday 3 October.
Under the heading ‘We’re back!”, window posters at the store have been trumpeting an ‘October 2012’ reopening for the last few weeks, but the exact date and time was confirmed on TJ Hughes’ Facebook Page last night.
Meanwhile, the company has revealed via Twitter and Facebook that it will also reopen in Birkenhead next month, though the precise date is yet to be confirmed. While not stated specifically, it seems likely that in Birkenhead, as in Middlesbrough, TJ Hughes will be returning to the premises it previously occupied. To my knowledge, the 10,497 sq ft Grange Shopping Centre unit has remained empty since TJ Hughes collapsed under its previous ownership last year, but the letting agents’ website is now showing the premises as ‘under offer’.
With Middlesbrough and Birkenhead, TJ Hughes’ store count will rise to nine. Six stores were initially saved by Lewis’s Home Retail (part of longstanding TJ’s supplier, the Benross Group) a year ago, while the Home Xtra store in Cannock that Benross already owned seems to have been rebranded under a TJ Hughes fascia.
It’s a long way shy, of course, of the 57 stores that TJ Hughes had when it fell into administration, some of which have since been picked up by other retailers such as Poundland, Debenhams and Wilkinson. Still, the new owner seems to be taking an eminently sensible approach to growing the business: getting the first six stores back on their feet before starting to slowly rebuild the estate, all while beefing up TJ Hughes’ online store and building a following and buzz via social media.
Given that a limited online presence and over-rapid expansion in the wrong locations were factors in TJ Hughes’ collapse the first time, this new strategy should ensure that TJ Hughes has a more sustainable future.
My retail consultancy business, CannyInsights.com, provides bespoke place- and sector-specific market intelligence, including coverage of ex-TJ Hughes locations. It also works with retailers nationwide to improve their stores, customer communications and market knowledge. For more information, visit www.cannyinsights.com, drop me an email, or give me a call on (0191) 461 0361.