A retail giant's decision to leave a retail park to open in Corby's town centre has been described as "an excellent move".
It has been confirmed that Sports Direct, owned by the richest man in the East Midlands Mike Ashley, will close their Phoenix Parkway unit to open in the huge former TJ Hughes store in Queen's Square.
The unit will house both the USC fashion and Sports Direct brands. Work is expected to start on a full refurbishment of the building imminently, with an opening planned for Easter 2020.
Sovereign Centros, which owns the majority of the town centre and sold the unit, said it was a major boost for the town centre.
Simon Phipps, senior leasing, development and asset manager at Sovereign Centros, said: “This is an excellent move which secures Sports Direct’s future in the heart of Corby town centre.
"It will be widely welcomed by other town centre retailers and Corby’s shoppers alike.”
The 46,416 sq ft building facing onto Queens Square was last occupied by TJ Hughes before the retailer closed its doors in 2011.
The majority of the building was held on a long lease with 55 years remaining to Leto Limited, managed by APAM Ltd, but TJ Hughes’ closure left a major hole in the town’s high street.
The large building was a Littlewoods shop from 1975 - employing more than 300 staff during its peak in the 1980s.
Littlewoods closed in 2007 and the store was taken over by TJ Hughes which entered administration in 2011.
Although attempts were made to keep the profitable Corby site open, it eventually closed and has largely been empty, apart from some storage use, since then.