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Resurgent Game reopens axed stores in Newcastle and Sunderland

Reopened Game store in Grainger Street, Newcastle (24 Oct 2013). Photograph by Graham Soult

Reopened Game store in Grainger Street, Newcastle (24 Oct 2013)

A year and a half after 21 North East stores closed following Game’s collapse into administration, two of those shops – in Grainger Street, Newcastle and High Street West,Sunderland – are reopening.

The Gamestation-branded shop in Grainger Street … Continue Reading

Good news for Sunderland as fashion store Utopia takes over ex-Peacocks

Utopia (ex-Peacocks), Sunderland (18 Oct 2013). Photograph by Graham Soult

Utopia (ex-Peacocks), Sunderland (18 Oct 2013)

Sunderland’s ex-Peacocks unit in The Bridges is finally to be reoccupied, after more than 18 months of vacancy.

The prominent Market Square store was one of ten North East branches that closed following Edinburgh Woollen Mill’s rescue of 400 Peacocks stores in February last year. Now, after months of … Continue Reading

North East leads the space change as Tesco adds gyms to Extra stores

New Tesco Extra, Sunderland (6 Jul 2013). Photograph by Graham Soult

New Tesco Extra, Sunderland (6 Jul 2013)

Tesco Extra branches in Stockton-on-Tees and Sunderland are to see surplus space converted into gyms, as the retail giant looks to ‘repurpose’ excess square footage within some of its largest stores.

Plans to shrink some oversized Extra stores were first mentioned back in … Continue Reading

Hilco has rescued HMV, but now the hard work really starts

1951 advert for HMV, featuring the iconic Nipper image. Photograph by Graham Soult

1951 advert for HMV, featuring the iconic Nipper image

It’s been nearly three months coming, but now the news that everyone wanted to hear has been confirmed: the iconic entertainment retailer HMV, which collapsed in January, has been … Continue Reading

North East stores at risk as high street furnisher Walmsley’s collapses again

Walmsley's, Newcastle (3 Dec 2012). Photograph by Graham Soult

Walmsley’s, Newcastle (3 Dec 2012)

Stores in Newcastle, Sunderland, Blyth and Stockton are among 24 shops that are at risk following the collapse of Walmsley’s, the high street furniture specialist, last month.

The dreaded black and yellow ‘Store Closing’ banners – now so … Continue Reading

Breaking news: TJ Hughes to return to Middlesbrough as Metro Outlet makes way

Ex-TJ Hughes, Middlesbrough, prior to arrival of Metro Outlet (30 Sep 2011). Photograph by Graham Soult

Ex-TJ Hughes, Middlesbrough, prior to arrival of Metro Outlet (30 Sep 2011)

TJ Hughes is to reopen its store in Middlesbrough’s Captain Cook Square, it has been confirmed.

The move comes almost exactly a year after the store … Continue Reading

Newcastle’s revamped Wilkinson is better and brighter

Wilkinson, Newcastle (28 Jun 2012). Photograph by Graham Soult

Wilkinson, Newcastle (28 Jun 2012)

Since Wilkinson, the family-owned hardware and variety chain, quietly launched its new logo and store format over three years ago, the refreshed look seems to have been rolled out to much of the 370-strong estate. To the company’s credit, it hasn’t simply been a case of sticking a new logo over an unchanged store environment – … Continue Reading

Poundworld takes over Middlesbrough’s ex-Peacocks, as it opens its 30th store in 15 weeks

Former Peacocks, Middlesbrough (7 Mar 2012). Photograph by Graham Soult

Former Peacocks, Middlesbrough (7 Mar 2012)

Middlesbrough might have lost its Pure Party store in the fallout from Clinton Cards’ collapse, but as some retailers depart the town others are arriving – or expanding.

Just now, it seems that the once thing the town can’t get enough of is discount variety … Continue Reading

A Woolworths staff photo from 1938 – but can you identify the location?

Postcard of unknown Woolworths shopfront, 2 April 1938

Postcard of unknown Woolworths shopfront, 2 April 1938

The last time I shared an old photograph of an unidentified Woolworths store, Soult’s Retail View readers were quick to identify it as the original Woolies on Aberdeen’s Union Street (store #228) – a store that closed in 1990 but whose former premises still survive.

This latest teaser is a … Continue Reading

Twenty-one North East stores close immediately as Game collapses

Game in Sunderland's High Street West - now closed (13 Mar 2012). Photograph by Graham Soult

Game in Sunderland's High Street West - now closed (13 Mar 2012)

Twenty-one Game and Gamestation shops in the North East are among the 277 stores that have closed immediately following Game Group’s collapse into administration this morning.

While the administrator, PwC, … Continue Reading

Newcastle’s extended Primark takes shape

Primark site, Newcastle (5 Mar 2012). Photograph by Graham Soult

Primark site, Newcastle (5 Mar 2012)

Whatever you might think about the rise of the fashion retailer Primark, there’s no disputing that it’s one of the big retail success stories right now. Just here in the North East, Primark opened its new 58,700 sq ft Metrocentre store (which I’m still yet to check … Continue Reading

Edinburgh Woollen Mill saves Peacocks, but ten North East stores close

Peacocks in Newcastle, which has now closed (22 Jan 2012). Photograph by Graham Soult

Peacocks in Newcastle, which has now closed (22 Jan 2012)

Today’s announcement that Edinburgh Woollen Mill has bought fashion retailer Peacocks out of administration is very good news as far as the 6,000 saved jobs and 395 retained stores are concerned. However, 224 stores … Continue Reading

Swindon’s BHS provides a taster of what Newcastle and Hartlepool can expect

New BHS, Swindon (11 Sep 2011). Photograph by Graham Soult

New BHS, Swindon (11 Sep 2011)

While visiting Swindon’s out-of-town John Lewis at Home, I also managed to spent some time exploring the town centre.

The open-air Parade shopping centre has the distinction of hosting one of the UK’s few (as … Continue Reading

Newcastle’s TJ Hughes is saved – but Middlesbrough’s is to close within days

Newcastle's TJ Hughes (8 Aug 2011). Photograph by Graham Soult

Newcastle's TJ Hughes (8 Aug 2011)

There was good news for Newcastle city centre earlier this week, with the announcement that the TJ Hughes store in Grainger Street had been sold, preventing the loss of 76 jobs. However, the … Continue Reading

Habitat, HomeForm, TJ Hughes: why is it H-H-Hell on the high street?

Habitat, Bristol (22 Feb 2011). Photograph by Graham Soult

Habitat, Bristol (22 Feb 2011)

It’s hard to dispute that the last couple of weeks has been a torrid time for the UK high street, with a succession of well-known names either announcing bad news or collapsing into administration.

While HMV has a stay of execution for now, other retailers in that section of the alphabet – Habitat, … Continue Reading

Ambitious Tyne Bridge mall plans to be unveiled

The iconic Tyne Bridge. Photograph by Graham Soult

The iconic Tyne Bridge

The retail hearts of Newcastle and Gateshead are set to be connected by a new £200m shopping mall, running the length of the iconic Tyne Bridge.

The scheme will involve building a new modern steel and glass structure underneath the existing road deck, providing a covered mall route between the Newcastle and Gateshead sides, and affording panoramic views over the existing developments at Newcastle Quayside and Gateshead Quays.

The project is also set … Continue Reading

The ghosts of Washington’s former Woolworths

Former Woolworths (now Heron Foods), New Washington (Concord) (17 Jun 2010). Photograph by Graham Soult

Former Woolworths (now Heron Foods), New Washington (Concord) (17 Jun 2010)

Back in February, I blogged about the former Woolworths store in Sunderland’s Fawcett Street, which closed in 2004 following its acquisition by Primark.

At the time, I noted the curious lack of Woolies stores left on Wearside … Continue Reading

Logging the North East’s long-closed former Woolies

Former Linthorpe Road Woolworths, Middlesbrough. Photograph by Graham Soult

Former Linthorpe Road Woolworths, Middlesbrough

Last week’s blog post about the long-closed former Woolworths in Benwell seems to have opened the floodgates to lots of comments and insights about other nearly-forgotten Woolies in the North East – many thanks indeed for all your contributions!

While Seamaster … Continue Reading

Robbs and Joplings owner Vergo Retail in administration

The iconic Joplings store in Sunderland. Photograph by Graham Soult

The iconic Joplings store in Sunderland

Department and home store retailer Vergo Retail has gone into administration, placing a question mark over the future of the 19-store business – including the iconic Robbs department store in Hexham and Joplings in Sunderland.   

Sarah Bell and Steven Muncaster, partners at MCR, have been appointed joint administrators, with the stores set to trade as normal while the … Continue Reading

Sunderland’s old Woolies – a survivor almost to the end

Former Woolworths (now Primark), Sunderland (21 Nov 2009). Photograph by Graham Soult

Former Woolworths (now Primark), Sunderland (21 Nov 2009)

In an earlier post, I talked about some of the large, city centre Woolworths stores – such as the branches on Newcastle’s Northumberland Street and Sheffield’s Haymarket – that were closed down in the 1980s as the retailer trimmed its ranges and focused on generally smaller shops.  

However, one flagship Woolies that lasted … Continue Reading