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Barkers to expand store by a third in £3m investment

Barker familyYorkshire retailer Barkers is to expand its Northallerton interiors store by a third to 60,000sqft in a £3m investment.

Work on building the new contemporary furniture, homeware and accessories department is expected to be completed by Christmas.
The recession forced the company to postpone its expansion plans in 2008.
‘We will increase the size of the furnishing store to 60,000sqft and the new area will have its own identity and a totally different feel to the existing part of the store, which is more traditional,’ says Charles Barker, Barkers md.
‘As a business we feel retail is fast-moving and we can never stand still. Customers, quite rightly, have high expectations and it is up to us to answer that demand. Our philosophy is to make our stores into a destination and that seems to be working as we draw customers from all over Yorkshire, the North East, and even from down south.
‘There are fewer family-owned department stores these days because of the cost of property and there is often not a line of succession or people wanting to go into the family business. Because we have a new generation in place, we plan to be here for the long-term and we have tremendous confidence in the town of Northallerton.
‘We felt the effects of the recession in 2008 after the banking crisis happened and we have had some challenging times since then, but in the last 18 months we've found people are much more positive, there is more consumer confidence and spending has increased.
‘This is an exciting time for us as we have been working towards this new development for eight years. It would have gone ahead in 2008 but we put it on hold because of the banking crisis.’
The company is also investing £500,000 revamping the first floor of its department store in the prosperous market town, with a new 180-seat restaurant.
The combined investment is likely to see staff numbers rise from 250 to about 270.