RETAIL giant Marks and Spencer today unveiled plans for a massive new Leeds city centre store.
The new 18,250 sq ft outlet will anchor the massive 800m Eastgate shopping development in the city together with the already announced 26,000 sq m John Lewis department store.
M&S, which began life on a Leeds market stall, said the new store would "complement" its existing outlet in Briggate rather than replacing it.
The Eastgate scheme, taking in the Eastgate and Harewood quarters of the city, is being developed by London-based Hammerson and Leeds-based Town Centre Securities plc.
Construction is due to begin in 2009, with completion in 2012. In total it will boast more than 110,000 sq m of retail space.
M&S said its new outlet would bring together a wide range of fashion across womenswear, menswear and childrenswear, as well as a full home offer and food hall with a bakery.
It will also have an M&S Caf and a deli serving food, drink and snacks.
In total the Eastgate Quarter development will include over 100 shops, restaurants and bars, a hotel, office accommodation, up to 600 new homes and 2,700 associated car parking spaces.
Iain Perkins, M&S divisional executive, said: "The Eastgate Quarter will be a fantastic shopping environment. We are delighted to be anchoring the development with a brand-new M&S that will complement our existing Briggate store and strengthen the M&S offer across Leeds."
John Richards, chief executive of Hammerson, said: "I am delighted that one of the UK's most successful retailers has committed to our scheme.
"This is a major step forward in our bid to bring a retail offer of the highest quality to the people of Leeds and the surrounding areas. Securing Marks & Spencer as an anchor tenant is a great coup for the development."
Edward Ziff, chairman and chief executive of Town Centre Securities (TCS), added: "Marks & Spencer's decision to open a new store in Leeds gives a real boost to our plans for the city.
"TCS has been closely involved in Leeds for many years and we are pleased to increase that involvement through the development of this exciting scheme."
Last week M&S reported its worst sales figures in two years and predicted that conditions on the high street would remain tough until spring next year.
Its like-for-like sales in Britain, stripping out the effects of new store openings, fell 2.2 per cent in the 13 weeks to December 29 after it slashed the price of clothes to lure in shoppers. Food sales fell 1.5 per cent while non-food sales, mainly clothing, were down 3.2 per cent.