The Welsh Government is investing £752,000 on key site preparation works to enable Charlies Stores – one of Wales’ largest independent retailers – to build a new headquarters and e-commerce fulfilment centre on Offa’s Dyke Business Park in Welshpool.
To mark the start of work Economy Secretary Ken Skates joined Charlies Stores Managing Director Designate Rebecca Lloyd on the seven acre site to cut the first turf.
They met representatives from Alun Griffiths Ltd civil engineering and construction contractors that are undertaking works valued at £676,000 to prepare site for the planned 108,000 sq ft facility.
Separate orders totalling £76,000 have also been placed with Scottish Power, Severn Trent Water and Wales & West Utilities for the diversion of the electric, water & gas mains on site.
Ken Skates said: “The Welsh Government has worked closely with Charlies Stores to support their plans to expand and grow in mid Wales and I am delighted work is now underway preparing the site for development.
“Charlies are a very important employer and their planned investment will ensure its continued long term sustainable growth in Mid Wales, supporting and creating jobs locally and helping to develop the competitive edge of this particular region of Wales.”
Rebecca Lloyd said: “We are delighted to see groundwork begin on our new headquarters and distribution centre. We are proud to call mid Wales our home and are pleased we can continue to do this with this new state-of-the-art facility. As a growing business, this represents an exciting time for us and will give us the option to expand even further in the future.”
The company employs more than 400 staff across eight stores, selling goods ranging from footwear and cooking utensils to chainsaws and camping equipment. Online sales have sales have seen an 80% year on year growth with ambitions for internet sales driving its future growth.
It currently operates across multiple sites in Newtown and Welshpool, many of which are reaching full capacity – consolidating these operations under one roof at the planned new e-commerce centre will enable the company to increase efficiencies, serve a larger number of stores and grow its web based business.
It has outlets in Newtown, Welshpool, Aberystwyth, Carmarthen, Deeside and Shrewsbury. Last year it opened a second outlet in Aberystwyth.
The work includes levelling the site, diverting a public footpath, the demolition of existing infrastructure works including a length of road and an electricity sub station. The completion in summer August 2017 will the trigger the sale of the site to Charlies Stores.