Discounter JTF plans chain of 50 stores
Britain’s retail recovery has been given a boost with news of a new discount retail chain that plans to open 50 stores across the country, creating 2,000 jobs.
JTF Central, which expects to open its first store in Hull, in a former Mothercare store, will be an extension to JTF Mega Discount Warehouse business.
The 40-year-old retailer has 12 stores on retail parks in the north and the Midlands. The business operates on a membership format, similar to Costco, and sells a wide range of products, including clothing and beauty. The discounter became profitable during the pandemic as it remained open through lockdowns due to it selling 'essential' categories.
Retail veteran Arthur Harris, who bought JTF Mega Discount in January last year, is behind the new high street venture, according to the Times newspaper.
JTF Central will be run by Jeremy Coombes, a corporate financier, who told the newspaper that the market was “ripe with opportunity” because of low-rent and rent-free deals currently on offer as landlords are desperate to fill empty units.
“We want to stand out from the rest and bring something a bit buzzy and fun again to the high street”, he said.
Coombes added that the retailer would want to introduce live demonstrations and experiences in the stores. “We want to grab the opportunity and make it exciting. It’s a bit conceptual at the moment”.
JTF’s arrival to the market will be a welcome addition to a retail sector that has already lost 1,663 stores this year following the collapse of retailers such as Debenhams and Arcadia’s high street brands, including Topshop and Dorothy Perkins.
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