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From Palmers to Chattels - work starts on Dereham’s new department store

PUBLISHED: 06:08 23 April 2015 | UPDATED: 10:58 24 April 2015

A sign is placed into the window of the former Palmers store in Dereham, showing the new name Chattels of Dereham, which is opening soon - From left, new staff Sharon Sowinski, Ginny Gordon, Sue Mendham, Sharon Green and new manager Martin Debbage. Picture: Matthew Usher.

A sign is placed into the window of the former Palmers store in Dereham, showing the new name Chattels of Dereham, which is opening soon - From left, new staff Sharon Sowinski, Ginny Gordon, Sue Mendham, Sharon Green and new manager Martin Debbage. Picture: Matthew Usher.

© Archant Norfolk 2015

Work has started on the £2m transformation of the former Palmers store in Dereham into a much-needed new department store.

A sign is placed into the window of the former Palmers store in Dereham, showing the new name Chattels of Dereham, which is opening soon. Picture: Matthew Usher.A sign is placed into the window of the former Palmers store in Dereham, showing the new name Chattels of Dereham, which is opening soon. Picture: Matthew Usher.

The name of the new store, which was bought by businessman Basil Todd last year, has been revealed as Chattels of Dereham and is expected to open in June.

It is hoped that the opening of Chattels will prove a huge boost to the retail community, bringing in new shoppers to the town and encouraging other businesses to invest in the town centre.

The store was sold to Mr Todd last autumn and closed as Palmers for the last time in March. But it will run in a similar format selling mens and ladies fashions, cosmetics and fragrances, shoes and lingerie and will reopen the upstairs cafe.

He is also rebuilding the demolished site next door into a ground floor supermarket and extending Chattels into the upstairs to offer a further 20,000 square foot of retail space.

Some of the departments, such as lingerie, will be run in-house while other brands are taking sales areas and those already signed up include Joules, Sea Salt, Van Buck, HS Hall, Van Dal, Bronnley, Danniells, Prestige & Collection, Fragrance Factory and Woods of Windsor.

Martin Debbage, from Billingford, has been appointed as general manager. He has years of experience in retail and said the opportunity to run Chattels was “too good to turn down”.

He added: “This is what Dereham needs, something to reignite the embers that have been lying dormant for many years. We hope it will benefit smaller shops because of the footfall of customers coming here and will generate more people visiting Dereham who would have gone to Norwich or Cambridge.

“We are excited about some of the big names that are coming. Ted Baker have said they are on board but say they want to know a bit more about the history of Dereham. With one big name signed up the others will follow, like Tommy Hilfiger, Armani, Hugo Boss and more.”

Mr Debbage has also secured a domain name for a website which will enable customers to click and collect which they hope to have up and running in the next few months.

Mr Todd said: “I think it will be a real lift for Dereham and should create 40 to 50 new jobs. The designs look fantastic and I am really excited about it.”

* What do you think about the new store? Email kathryn.cross@archant.co.uk.

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