THE VACANT site of a closed Marks & Spencers in Fareham Shopping Centre is to be occupied with a Beales department store.
The Bournemouth-based department store chain, which has 22 shops across the UK, aims to open the new branch by Friday November 15.
The vacant unit has been empty since the M&S outlet closed on Sunday, April 21.
Beales’ owner and chief executive, Tony Brown said it would bring him 'great pleasure' to open the new branch - as he is a 'local boy.'
He said: 'My first job was in the Schweppes factory.
‘And with my wider family still living in Gosport, I know my mum will be pleased to be able to use her Beales card on a regular basis.'
The store will create 30 new retail jobs in the 27,000sq ft site on the ground floor of the shopping centre.
The Job Centre in Civic Way has been working with Beales to fill the positions.
Despite closing its Hampshire branch in the Brooks Centre, Winchester, in 2016, Beales had opened three stores across the UK this year, according to the chief executive.
He added: ‘This displays the success of our trading strategy, despite being in a very challenging retail environment with constant cost pressures.
‘Working with all stakeholders and effectively understanding the customers’ expectations in the towns in which Beales trades, demonstrates that bricks and mortar still have a place and that the high street can adapt and thrive.
‘Beales have worked closely with M&S, the centre management and the council to make this happen, all of whom have been very supportive.’