PROPOSALS for The Range to take over Weymouth's landmark Debenhams building have been welcomed by business bosses who said it proved the town's desirability for retailers.

Debenhams, based on New Bond Street, has shut down for good following the company’s collapse.

The Range - which sells a mixture of branded and non-branded items, including home, garden, electrical, and leisure products - has submitted plans to Dorset Council to move into the soon-to-be vacant building.

Iceland had also been included in the plans for the building due to its 'strategic alliance' with The Range.

Dorset Echo: How The Range will look after taking over Debenhams in Weymouth town centre. Picture: The Range

But it will no longer have a branch in the building due to a 'business decision' - believed to be the fact it already has a store in the town centre and its items will be stocked in a new Food Warehouse due to open next week.

News of The Range coming to Weymouth has sparked excitement among shoppers, with many praising a new business investing in the town centre amid the bleak economic environment caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Dawn Rondeau, the recently appointed chief operations officer for Weymouth BID, welcomed the plans for a ‘thriving retailer being based at the heart of the town’ and will help draw shoppers into the town centre.

She said: “Weymouth BID, known as We Are Weymouth (WAW), are pleased to see inward investment from business, into Weymouth.

Dorset Echo: Debenhams in Weymouth town centre will not reopening. Picture: Dorset Echo/Michael Taylor

“This is especially welcome in the current climate and will provide much needed employment at a time when many towns are facing significant challenges.

“We support initiatives that will create and sustain employment across Weymouth for the benefit of our members and the community as a whole.

“It is really positive that large national brands, having done their market research, see the potential that we see for businesses to thrive and develop in Weymouth.

“A thriving retailer at the heart of the town complimenting Weymouth’s overall offering will benefit our local economy; increasing visitor numbers, as well as servicing our local community.

“Weymouth has some fantastic assets which already attract people to our town and we feel that the redevelopment of this site will be another positive thing for the community as a whole.

Dorset Echo: Debenhams in Weymouth town centre has shut its doors. Debenhams in Weymouth town centre has shut its doors.

“This is further evidence of the benefits of We Are Weymouth’s partnership approach with business to support our local economy.”

A spokeswoman for The Range said the store opening would create 80 new jobs in the area.

She said: “I can confirm that we are planning to open a new store in Weymouth, however at present, we do not have any confirmation of a launch date.

“The store will be spread over two floors and will have a family café. It will offer products across 16 departments from home furnishings and accessories to arts and crafts and pet care.”

“I can confirm that 80 new roles will be created at the new store. There will be a mixture of full and part-time positions available from Store to Department Managers to Warehouse Staff and Retail Assistants.

“Jobs will be advertised through the local job centre once an opening date has been confirmed.”

The Range has a number of branches across Dorset, with a store based on Great Western Industrial Centre in Dorchester.

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