A major retailer is to quit one of the largest flagship stores at the city centre this weekend.
Next Beauty & Home is packing up two and a half years after moving into the former Debenhams store at Midsummer Place.
A Midsummer Place spokesman said: “We can confirm that Next Beauty & Home will be leaving the centre to make way for our second phase of centre developments that will see this space repurposed for an exciting new retail and leisure offering.”
There are plans to transform the ground floor of the three storey building into a large bowling alley, with a bar and dining facilities.
Almost 4,000 sq metres would be taken up and will put Midsummer Place on the map as a leisure destination.
“A big name in fashion” is reportedly interested in taking over the store’s remaining two floors, according to sources. “We can’t say who it is yet, but it’s a very exciting,” they said.
The source added: “Next were only ever believed to be temporary occupants of the store. The idea was to open up and see how it worked out.
“They didn’t fit the evolving centre. Leaving was mutual, with no hard feelings,” said the spokesperson.
Midsummer Place spent heavily in the past year converting the atrium to a leisure hub with numerous dining options.
The centre’s spokesman said: “Our first phase of the development has seen the progressive refurbishment of The Boulevard, which has delivered a stylish new food court that is near completion, and we are now gradually opening each new independent street-food operator.
“We will also welcome Tortilla to the scheme next month. This approach will continue to see dramatic changes to the centre and bring a vibrant new feel to Midsummer Place. Further details will be announced soon.”
The spokesman added: “We are sorry to see Next Beauty & Home leave and we wish the team all the best for the future.”