THE empty Woolworths store in Worcester’s High Street is to be turned into a TK Maxx.

Your Worcester News can exclusively reveal the retailer, which sells designer and high street brands of womenswear, menswear, homeware, gifts and accessories at discounted prices, will soon be opening its first store in the south of the county.

Workers have been busy sprucing up the inside of the empty shop over the last couple of days and Worcester City Council’s planners confirmed that they have just received an application from TJX Europe – the parent company of TK Maxx. It only relates to lighting, though, because the shop does not require a change of use.

The news is a massive boost to Worcester after Woolworths, which had been trading in the city for more than 100 years, shut its doors in January – a closure that cost more than 90 people their jobs and left a gaping hole in the High Street.

A TK Maxx spokesman told your Worcester News: “We are planning on opening a store in Worcester but we are looking at the store probably not opening until towards the end of the summer.”

The spokesman said they did not have any specific details on what products the store would sell or how many jobs would be created.

Adrian Field of VisitWorcester, the company responsible for tourism, events and city centre management, said it was “great news” such a prominent, large shophad been filled.

“Their investment will increase the numbers of people coming into the city centre to shop and so help other businesses as well,” he said.

“It will also create more employment opportunities, which is great news at present.”

TK Maxx currently has stores in Kidderminster and Redditch, but Worcester is listed on its website as one of the places it has been looking at in recent times.

There were rumours TK Maxx was interested in the former Sainsbury’s store in Cathedral Plaza when the supermarket giant closed there in April 2007.

Cathedral Plaza manager John Kendrick said a deal on that unit was nearing completion.

“We are hopeful that we are going to make an announcement very soon but in the current economic climate, and with two big units, it is good to have one confirmation and one about to be confirmed,”

he said.