In yet another coup for the West One Retail Park in Eccles, independent petfood chain Jollyes is considering opening a new store in a formerly vacant lot.
With all the other West One units either occupied or allocated, there’s only two spots left it could take: Unit 9b, at 7,479sq ft, which would make it around half the size of Smyths Toystores or the much smaller Unit 14 at the extreme right of the park, next to WH Smiths.
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Instead, the rumours started the old-fashioned way: one eagle-eyed SalfordOnline reader spotted that Jollyes are advertising to recruit managers and staff for a store at West One in Eccles – which doesn’t exist yet.
“Due to our ongoing expansion, we are continually looking for highly motivated, determined and committed team players to join us,” they say.
It’s a pretty decent indication that a new store is on the way, but still unconfirmed speculation.
Jollyes have been contacted to confirm or deny the news but have so far not responded to SalfordOnline.com
Since the pet retailer launched in 1971 it has grown into one of the largest pet food store chains in the UK, with 56 outlets.
Expansion is on the cards, too.
Jim Warke, Director of Jollyes Petfood Superstores told Source Security in November 2015: “This is an exciting time for Jollyes as we are committed to our growth plan, with three new stores already in the pipeline for next year.”
Jollyes has told investors it plans to open five further stores every year.
Once Pure Gym and Iceland move in, only two units will be available in the once-half empty retail park, now bustling, busy and full of big-name chains and shoppers.
It’s quite a remarkable turnaround.
The 150,000 sq ft retail park was developed by Wilson Bowden & Richardson’s in 2001.
It brought WH Smiths and Next Clearance, along with McDonalds and Subway, but the financial recession and credit crunch from 2008 saw a major downturn in the prospects for the retail park.
The key letting of a giant 60,000sq ft space (originally reserved for a Tesco Express that never arrived) to homeware store The Range in 2014 revived West One’s fortunes.
In April 2015 a firm called Frogmore Real Estate Partners III bought the freehold in West One Retail Park from Kilmona (formerly PBN) Holdings for £17.75 million.
Last year Brighton-headquarted Jollyes Retail Group Limited, the holding company for Jollyes Pet Food Superstores, posted a turnover of £62.5 million with sales of £37.5 million and net assets of £15.8 million.
The firm now employs 543 people.
Rival retailer Pets at Home currently dominates the pets market with 300 stores nationwide.