A new department store could open in Salisbury's former Debenhams site later this year, it has been confirmed.

Smith Bradbeer, who own the building on Blue Boar Row, are hoping to turn the prominent site into their latest branch.

The family-run business already runs stores in Romsey, New Milton and Hedge End, selling furniture, homeware, clothing, cosmetics and beauty products.

Plans to open a new Bradbeers were first revealed last November, though at the time director Greg Davies stressed these would very much depend on the pandemic getting under control and the economy becoming more stable.

Hope for new store

Today (April 26), Mr Davies confirmed that opening a store is still "what we're working towards".

He said: "The situation is still the same, we're hoping to open up a store [on Blue Boar Row] later in the year but at the moment it's early days.

"We're still marketing the building but we've started negotiations with suppliers and partners, particularly cosmetics, and we're going from there."

Opening a Bradbeers store in Salisbury is "what we're working towards," Mr Davies said, but plans aren't set in stone just yet.

"Things could still change, you never know what could happen," he said. 

Since the firm's intentions were made public at the end of last year, Mr Davies said he had received many letters from members of the public keen to welcome Bradbeers to the city.

Romsey store 'very busy'

Some Salisbury residents already travel to Romsey to shop at the Bradbeers branch on Bell Street, which Mr Davies says has been "very busy" since reopening on April 12.

Seating at its outdoor restaurant has been extended to accommodate 100 covers.

"There's been a lot of pent-up demand, the store has been really busy and hopefully it will carry on.

"Our regulars have missed coming to the restaurant and having cups of coffee. 

"We've been really lucky with the weather, it's hardly rained in the past week so we hope we'll continue to have nice, sunny weather."

The former Debenhams site in Salisbury has been empty since the retailer pulled out of the city after going into administration in April 2020.

Smith Bradbeer had bought the building 10 years previously with the intent to open one of their stores should Debenhams ever decide to close.

Get more Salisbury news and nominate your local heroes for the South Wiltshire Hero Awards.

You can also like our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter and Instagram to stay up to date.

If you want online news with fewer ads, unlimited access and reader rewards - plus a chance to support our local journalism - find out more about registering or a digital subscription.

Email newsdesk@salisburyjournal.co.uk with your comments, pictures, letters and news stories.