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Twin towns draw in top high street shops

PUBLISHED: 17:32 15 May 2008 | UPDATED: 07:25 01 August 2010

TWO national high street giants are set to move into Beccles and Bungay this year.

It was confirmed this week that a WHSmith outlet will be moving into Beccles next month whilst the two Alliance pharmacies in St Mary's Street and St John's Road, Bungay, are set to be rebranded as Boots.

TWO national high street giants are set to move into Beccles and Bungay this year.

It was confirmed this week that a WHSmith outlet will be moving into Beccles next month whilst the two Alliance pharmacies in St Mary's Street and St John's Road, Bungay, are set to be rebranded as Boots.

WHSmith have bought the lease for the Martins McColl newsagent in Sheepgate, Beccles, and the newsagent will close on June 1 to make way for the new owners.

Refitting for WHSmith will start on June 9, and it is estimated it will take about a month. The post office will remain in the building, however it will briefly close from June 9 to 11 during the transition, and the staff at Martins and the post office will all become WHSmith employees.

A spokesperson for WHSmith said they were delighted to be moving to Beccles: “I can confirm that WHSmith has acquired the lease of the Martins shop they are delighted to be opening a new store in the town.”

Meanwhile in Bungay the rebranding of the Alliance pharmacies is part of a national switch that will take place in 900 stores in the UK over the next two years, following the merger between Alliance UniChem and the Boots Group in July 2006.

The staff at the old Alliance Pharmacies will remain the same, but the stores will undergo an extensive refit and offer a range of extra products and services from the Boots range.

Representatives of businesses in both towns have said they are happy to see the arrival of the national brands.

Christine Pinsent, chair of the Beccles Business Association, said that she was glad to see a “reputable” company move into the town and would remain happy as long as they stick to selling stationary.

“At the end of the day they are just replacing what was already there, so I can't see that it's going to upset anybody,” she said. “It's like for like and I haven't got a problem as long as they keep the post office.

“But my own view is that they should just stick to newspapers and cards.”

Suzanne Warren, president of Bungay and District Chamber of Trade and Commerce, said she will be very happy to see Boots arrive: “It's nice to see we're going to have a multinational move into Bungay. I think it's a good thing that big businesses are still interested in small market towns,” she said.


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