See inside huge new Wickes on former Dewhirst's site in Sunderland
DIY enthusiasts are set to feel right at home as a huge new Wickes opens its doors.
The DIY superstore is the latest unit to open on the former Dewhirst site in Pennywell, which had been empty for years after the closure of the landmark clothing factory.
Development on the site has already seen the opening of an Aldi and KFC, now Wickes has joined the industrial estate. A Marstons pub is also planned for the area.
Open to both trade and DIY, it’s a new home for the major building supplies store after issues with the previous site in Wessington Way, such as access and parking.
The new purpose-built hub, which opens on Friday, July 2, has safeguarded jobs, increased the size to 25,000 square foot and provides better parking facilities.
David Wingfield, Store Manager, Sunderland said: “We’re so excited for customers to see this brand new Wickes store, we’re able to offer many more products and services to local residents in this new space.
"The store has been designed to make shopping for home improvement and trade projects simpler than ever before, with the layout making it easier to find everything customers need in one trip. We’re also able to walk people around some inspirational room sets across kitchens and bathrooms, where our Design Consultants can really bring customer’s projects to life with our digital tools.”
Sunderland has a designated area for what the business names ‘Smart Fulfilment’. This assists the digital shopping journey, with the storage of items picked by colleagues for home delivery, ready for collection by local carriers. This is part of the retailer’s store of the future concept to drive efficiency and better customer service across its store network.
There’s also dedicated Click & Collect parking bays.
The new retail development is part of a multi-million-pound investment by UK Land Estates, the largest commercial property investment and development company in the North East, which has transformed the previously derelict site.
Tim Witty, Development Director at UK Land Estates, said “The new Wickes store provides a much-needed amenity for the local area and, with a range of services and products on offer, it will undoubtedly prove popular with local residents.
"Pennywell Industrial Estate occupies an important gateway site into Sunderland, and we are proud to continue to invest in this estate and our other sites, developing new properties and renovating existing buildings to provide valuable jobs and amenities in the North East.”
Colin Contini, Divisional Director North for Wickes, continued: “We know that our new store formats work well for customers, allowing them to shop the way they want. Whether that’s a digital journey or an in-store experience, our new store, with its wider offering, will enable so many projects for people locally.”
Wickes was founded in the USA in the 19th Century, and took off during the property boom in the 1950s.
The chain open its first store in the UK in Whitefield, Manchester, in 1972.
*Wickes in Pennywell is open Monday to Saturday 7am - 8pm and Sunday 10am - 4pm.