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Sports Direct is taking over Manchester’s long-vacant BHS site in the Arndale

Daisy Jackson Daisy Jackson - 8th February 2022

Sports Direct has confirmed it will open a new flagship store in the former BHS site in Manchester Arndale.

The sportswear giant is moving into the five-floor unit formerly occupied by the department store.

BHS shut down its Manchester store in 2016 when the company crashed into administration, and its former home in the Arndale has been mostly vacant ever since.

Now, Sports Direct has signed a 15-year lease on the 58,500 sq ft unit and will relocate from its existing location in the shopping centre, doubling its footprint.

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The old BHS store in Manchester city centre will be taken over by Sports Direct. Credit: Google Maps

Due to open late this year, the new shop will incorporate several Sports Direct brands, like USC, Game, Evans Cycles and Belong Esports Arena.

The sportswear brand has had a presence in the Arndale since 2009, selling everything from athletics equipment to camping gear.

It also sells the latest football kits, tapping into Manchester’s huge football industry.

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Sports Direct’s current store in the Arndale. Credit: Manchester Arndale

Other brands that have moved into the Arndale in recent months include Debenhams.com, Tommy Hilfiger, Kurt Geiger, Kick Game and Canada Goose.

Paperchase has also recently taken over a 1,000 sq ft unit previously occupied by Thorntons.

Scott Linard, portfolio director at M&G Real Estate, said: “Despite the challenges faced by the retail industry over the past few years, Manchester Arndale has remained resilient throughout the pandemic, completing 25 new leases throughout 2020 and 2021.

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Paperchase has recently joined the Arndale. Credit: The Manc Group

“We are therefore delighted that Sports Direct have not only chosen to commit its long-term future to the centre, but also double the size of its store.

“This demonstrates the confidence that major retailers have in Manchester Arndale as every year it attracts millions of visitors from across the North West and beyond thanks to its prime city centre location, excellent transport links, and its eclectic mix of leisure operators, F&B providers, and international brands.

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“Sports Direct is a key driver of footfall for the centre, as it appeals to Manchester’s love of sport and especially to the younger demographic in the city.

“This latest letting is set to be the start of an action-packed year for Manchester Arndale as we look forward to growing our diverse mix of tenants to ensure it remains the North West’s premier shopping destination.”

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The new Sports Direct store will open at the Arndale, on the corner of Market Street and High Street, at the end of 2022.

Featured image: Supplied