MORE than 300 jobs are to be created in Sunderland after two of the High Street’s big names joined forces.
DIY giant B&Q has signed a deal with supermarket chain Morrisons which will see B&Q’s Trimdon Street store converted into a new format B&Q and a new Fresh Format Morrisons foodstore.
The companies say the move will create more than 300 local Morrisons jobs, though it is unclear how many will be long-term retail posts and how many shorter-lived construction jobs.
B&Q has informed its store employees of its intention to reduce the size of its operation, creating a new store with a gross area of approximately 45,000sq ft, together with new 30,000 sq ft garden centre.
The firm currently employs 85 people at the store and a spokeswoman said: “No decision has been taken to change this headcount.”
Steven Blair, acting divisional director for North, B&Q, said: “We want to offer our Sunderland customers the best that we can in home improvement and the new size store will include new features and services that will not only inspire customers but will also help them to undertake their home improvement projects.
“This deal will enable us to continue to serve our Sunderland customers to the highest possible standard and we are committed to working with Morrisons to enhance the whole shopping experience on the site.”
Morrisons has opened talks with Sunderland City Council ahead of submitting a planning application and is proposing a foodstore with a sales area of approximately 40,000 sq ft.
A public consultation exhibition will be held as soon as possible, after which a planning application will be submitted.
B&Q will remain open throughout the conversion works.