THE latest addition to Wearside’s retail landscape is off to a record-breaking start.
National chain The Range has taken over the former Homebase store in Silksworth Lane and the new-look store saw the company’s biggest opening of the year this morning.
Dozens of shoppers queued outside to snap up first day bargains.
Mayor of Sunderland Coun Stuart Porthouse joined The Range owner and founder Chris Dawson to cut the ribbon and declare the shop open.
Chris Dawson was delighted with the turn-out.
“We are very excited to have opened our new store in Sunderland this morning and we are pleased to invite the community down to see what we are all about,” he said.
“It was fantastic to see so many people turn up this morning, it has been the largest turn out of customers we have had in 2014, with some people queuing from the early hours.
“The feedback we have had already has been really positive, I am confident that the new store will soon become an integrated part of the community.”
The Echo reported in May that Homebase was to close its Silksworth Lane store, with bosses hoping to transfer the 30 jobs affected to neighbouring stores, or sister chain Argos.
Silksworth ward councillor Phil Tye described the decision as “a massive blow” for people in the area, and said he hoped another firm could be found to take over the building.
News that the store could be saved emerged in June, when Devon-based GR Planning Consultancy submitted plans which would see the store occupied by The Range.
The chain sells home, garden and leisure items as well as books, magazines and camping equipment.