New Matalan store could threaten retailers in Rugby town centre

The new store will create 80 jobs
The new store will create 80 jobs

A new Matalan store opening at an out-of-town retail park in Rugby could impact on town centre businesses.

The claim was made by town centre management company Rugby First after Matalan announced it would be opening a new outlet next month.

Rugby First strongly objected to the initial planning application because of concerns raised by town centre businesses

Aftab Gaffar, Rugby First managing director

The 20,000 sq ft store will open on the site of the former Superbowl bowling alley on May 7 at Junction One Retail Park in Leicester Road, Rugby.

The new store will offer a range of goods including ladieswear, menswear, kidswear and homeware. It will create 80 jobs.

But Rugby First is concerned that the new store will be tough competition for retailers in the town centre.

Rugby First hoped Matalan would set up in the Clock Towers Shopping Centre in the town and objected to the initial planning application.

Aftab Gaffar, Rugby First managing director, said: “We are obviously disappointed that Matalan has decided not to open in the town centre.

“Rugby First strongly objected to the initial planning application because of concerns raised by town centre businesses but Matalan met the planning criteria and the application was approved.

“It is fair to say that the relaxed planning rules are not helping town centres and I strongly urge Government to do more to protect town centres and give local authorities more power to put town centres first.”

Mr Gaffar added: “I still think our town centre has a very strong offer and provides customers with something very different with a variety of high quality independent stores and a rich and diverse café culture.”

Matalan will join stores such as Sports Direct, Maplin, Boots, Dreams, Laura Ashley Home Furnishings, Currys PC World and The Range at Junction One.

Mike Jeans, retail director for Matalan, said: “We are thrilled to be expanding our business and opening up a store in Rugby.

“The new store will not only bring employment to the area but will also provide an easy and enjoyable shopping experience for customers, offering high quality, valuable and affordable products from fashion through to homeware.”

With Elliott’s Field Shopping Park re-opening in Leicester Road later this year, retailers are concerned that shoppers will not venture into the town when Nando’s, Outfit, Next and other stores are on offer with free parking.