TWO major stores are opening at a new Oxford retail site, creating more than 130 jobs.
Bosses at homewares specialist Dunelm Mill will today welcome Oxford Lord Mayor Alan Armitage to cut the ribbon on its new shop which has taken on 110 workers at the Meadowside Retail Park off Lamarsh Road.
And on Saturday, arts and crafts business Hobbycraft will open next door providing jobs for a further 22 staff.
Dunelm Mill store manager Sarah Sheehan said: “We are very proud and excited to come to such a thriving city.
“All the staff have been recruited from the local area and will be trained in house and we will be looking to recruit future managers from them.”
Ms Sheehan has moved from the Swindon store to head the Oxford operation of the expanding chain, which also has a Banbury outlet. She added that while the business had an online presence, it was confident that people still wanted to visit physical stores.
“Customers still enjoy the store environment. There are also people who will shop from home and pick up their purchase from the store.
“We also have a cafe, and many customers can spend up to three hours in the store.”
The Dunelm Mill store covers 38,900 sq ft on two floors and has 120 parking spaces.
It is the 126th store in the group which was started as a Leicester market stall in 1979 by Bill and Jean Adderley.
Chief executive Nick Wharton said: “We are confident Oxford will play a big part in the continued success of the company.”
Meanwhile, the 3rd Kennington Brownies will officially open the 11,945 sq ft Hobbycraft store on Saturday, with the first 100 customers receiving a free gift.
David Ellis, manager of the store which cost £500,000 to fit out, said: “I’m sure we’ll see a response from local families looking to bring the children down to the store and enjoy doing something creative.”
Also due to open on the Meadowside Retail Park is a new branch of motoring accessories store Halfords but spokesman Hettie Zammit said it was too soon to reveal an opening date.