A SHOP unit which has been empty since Next moved out of town has reopened.
High Street retail chain Shoe Zone opened this week in the Market Place building.
The unit has been redundant since Next moved out of town to Elliotts Field Retail Park a couple of years ago.
Robin Richter, managing director of Rugby First, said: “I’m pleased that unit has gone. It’s a very pivotal unit in the town and it’s been an eyesore for the last two or three years. At long last it’s gone.”
As a result of the new shop opening, the current Shoe Zone in the Clock Towers Shopping Centre is due to close next week.
Tony Spencer, manager of Clock Towers, said: “We were trying to work with them but then this unit came up for them which fits what they want. They can trade across two floors now.”
Another loss for the Clock Towers is the sudden closure of Julian Graves last week. The health food chain went into administration and the Rugby shop closed shortly after.
Mr Spencer said he was waiting to get the two empty units back and then they will both be marketed.
Two other empty shops in the centre have recently been filled with new clothes stores.
Red 60 has moved into the former Kiss Cards unit, while Magenta has opened in the former La Senza unit.
Mr Spencer said: “The fashion side is important to the town. We don’t really have much in the way of fashion here so I’m quite pleased that we’ve had clothing stores coming in.”
Other changes in the town centre include the opening of a new sweet shop in the former Indulgence shop opposite WH Smith which closed several years ago. Builders are working on transforming the unit, which is due to open shortly.
An Indian restaurant is also due to open in the former Green Olives unit in Church Street and Summersault restaurant is taking over a unit in Lawrence Sheriff Street for a new delicatessen and takeaway.
Mr Richter said: “One or two are starting to fill up but we’ve still got a long way to go.”