Morrisons to open in city's former Topshop site

The collapse of Sir Philip Green's Arcadia Group has seen the closure of Topshop

Morrisons has confirmed it will open in the former Topshop site in Norwich's Haymarket - Credit: Simon Parkin

The new brand moving into the empty former Topshop site has been revealed. 

The two-storey unit in the city centre's Haymarket has been gathering dust since the former high street giant went bust during lockdown. 

But recent activity at the site has lead to the new tenants being unmasked. 

Morrisons is set to open a swanky new store in the ground floor of the unit. 

The supermarket, which currently has a second base in the city's Riverside retail park, will open a flagship store complete with deli counters to entice lunchtime shoppers in. 

Morrisons' car parks are set to be used as hubs for vaccinations to take place

Morrisons is opening its second site in Norwich city centre - Credit: PA

Work on the site will commence over the summer with plans in place to open the doors early next year.

A source close to the project said: "This is really great news for Norwich. 

"The old Topshop site left a hole in the heart of the city centre and it is fantastic to see it back in use. 

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"The new flagship Morrisons site will be one of its cool up-market stores. 

"This empty unit has been a scar on Norwich's high street. This will rejuvenate the area and bring lots of investment and footfall to that part of the city."

The source added that hundreds of thousands of pounds are expected to be spent on converting the building. 

The second storey of the building is expected to be converted for residential use, the source continued. 

A Morrisons spokesman confirmed: "We have plans to open a store in Norwich - but it's not likely to open before early next year."

It comes as Norwich continues its bounce back towards pre-pandemic levels. 

According to data from Centre for Cities, the number of office workers stands at an index reading of 99 compared to a pre-pandemic baseline of 100. 

Likewise spend has continued to recover and stands at 102 for the band end of March - again in comparison to a pre-Covid baseline of 100. 

And in recent weeks Norwich has been even busier on Saturdays and Sundays than it was prior to the pandemic. 

The weekend index sits at a reading of 123.

Prof Joshua Bamfield, director at the centre of retail research. Pic: Archant

Prof Joshua Bamfield, director at the centre of retail research. Pic: Archant - Credit: Archant

Expert analysis: Is this good news for Norwich? 

Professor Joshua Bamfield, of the Centre for Retail Research, said the move is "excellent" for Norwich.  

The business boffin, who is based in Norwich, explained: "This is very good news for Norwich, it's exciting.  

"Morrisons is a brand with an up-market feel but at affordable prices. It also brings in a layer of welcome competition as this site is near M&S as well as nearby Tesco and Sainsbury's.  

"What's also good is that Morrisons is a brand with a lot of money behind it, meaning that this will be a venture the business is determined to make a success.  

"It will bring people back to the city centre I suspect, particularly those doing some shopping on a lunch break.  

"In my experience this is something fairly new for Morrisons as a business - I'm excited to see it come together."