A new tenant, reported to be Peacocks fashion chain, is believed to be on the way for the former Woolworths store at Portadown’s High Street Mall.
Negotiations are at an advanced stage for Peacocks to return to town, two years after they moved out of Magowan Buildings.
They went into administration in February 2012. And even though the firm was sold to Edinburgh Woollen Mill, 19 shops across the province were closed, leaving just 10 in Northern Ireland with the loss of 250 jobs. A total of 244 of the 388 in the UK were closed.
Peacocks traded from Magowan Building – where NV and Gino’s also closed recently – although the Peacock establishment was taken over by a furniture retailer.
The old Woolworths store is currently the premises of charity group, Portadown Cares. They will be accommodated in the neighbouring Clinton Cards unit, another business that was the victim of the recession.
Neither the management of the Mall nor Peacocks wished to comment as the deal reaches fruition. But it is hoped it will settle the rather shaky recent history of the unit.
After Woolworths went bust in 2008, the unit was rented by the multinationals Au Naturale and Ethel Austin. But they, too, went under and Portadown Cares took over last year.
A Mall source said, “We cannot confirm or deny the reports, but there are exciting things ahead, and the main aim is to give Portadown in general a boost.”
A statement from Portadown Cares said they were moving over the weekend and would be trading from the Clinton unit from Monday morning.
“We are delighted to continue undisturbed in the premises next door, which will suit our purposes admirably,” the statement added. “We know the people of Portadown will continue to support us and we really appreciate the help of the High Street Mall management since we moved into the building.”