A HOME, leisure and garden store is set to open in Southend next month, creating 150 new jobs.
The Range will open at the old B&Q site, which has been empty for six years.
The store, which opens on November 29, will sell furniture, furnishings, homeware and garden products.
It will bring part-time and fulltime jobs and replaces plans for a £50million Tesco superstore on the site, in Queensway.
Jobs on offer include store and department managers, warehouse staff and administration staff.
Chris Dawson, founder of the Range chain, said: “We’re very pleased to be creating a number of jobs in the area and look forward to inviting potential employees to join the team.
“I would like to thank the council for welcoming us and being so supportive.
“We feel the Range is a unique shopping experience which has something for everyone and we are confident the people of Southend will enjoy what the Range has to offer.
“We’ll be opening new shops in Derby, Southend and Bedford on the same day, making this date extra exciting for us as a company and creating 450 jobs in one day.
“When looking for new shops, location is very important to us and we feel the new Southend store is the perfect location.
“We’re a fast-growing company and expanding at a rapid rate, and I’m confident the Range in Southend will play an important role.”
Permission for an extension bigger than two tennis courts was granted this week, for an instore garden centre.
The site has been empty since B&Q moved to Fossetts Farm in 2007.
Anita Thornberry, the council’s head of economy, regeneration and tourism, welcomed news of the new store when it was announced in August, saying it was a feather in Southend’s cap.
Speaking at the time, she said: “Southend provides an excellent choice for retailers as we offer the largest urban area in the region and, as a leading visitor destination, Southend also gives the additional benefit of increased number of shoppers.
“This site being selected by the Range sends out a clear message we are attracting interest from national brands.
“Our town centre is in a comparatively strong position, with higher than average occupancy rates, and investment like this, coupled with projects such as the Forum [the new £27million library], signals confidence in our town to potential investors.”