A MAJOR retailer is set to open a new headquarters and distribution centre in Huddersfield this autumn.
Poundstretcher owner Brown and Jackson is quitting its site at Cross Gates, Leeds, to occupy purpose-built, 350,000sq ft premises on the former Holliday Chemicals site at Leeds Road, Deighton.
And the £5m move coincides with a change of name for the popular high street trader, from Poundstretcher to Instore.
The move will make Brown and Jackson one of the town's biggest employers, with 300 office-based staff and a similar number of warehouse workers at peak periods, such as Christmas.
Also, group chief executive Angus Monro is keen to bring an Instore shop to Huddersfield.
Talks are under way to find a suitable site near the town centre.
The group is close to completing the headquarters building, which will house the buyers, administration and support staff.
A huge warehouse with 24 loading bays and automated order picking lines is also being built.
The offices will be fully staffed by mid-October and the company has been recruiting local people to fill many of the posts for five months.
Brown and Jackson will start using the distribution centre in January, although it will not be fully operational until March.
Mr Monro is confident that the business is embarking on a new phase of growth.
"Coming to Huddersfield presents a huge opportunity," he said.
"We have a state-of-the-art facility, with 350,000sq ft and an additional 150,000sq ft of land for expansion.
"We have been operating from cramped premises at Leeds. They were no longer suitable for a 21st century retailing business.
"This site at Huddersfield will hold us in good stead for many years of growth."
Mr Monro, 55, said the Leeds Road site met all the company's business needs.
"We wanted to stay in Yorkshire," he said. "We didn't want to be too far from our Leeds origins and we wanted to be somewhere with a good recruitment base.
"We had some early discussions with Kirklees Council, which has a progressive outlook about bringing new business to the town.
"Huddersfield is a community in which business can flourish."
Newcastle-born Mr Monro has more than 30 years experience in retailing, having worked for Marks and Spencer, the Burton Group and Kingfisher.
In 1996, he joined Matalan and masterminded the company's flotation in 1998.
Mr Monro joined Brown and Jackson in July, 2002, and put his name to the move to Huddersfield in December that year.
As well as overseeing the transfer of hundreds of staff to the town, he is spearheading the name change to Instore.
So far, about 50 Poundstretcher stores have been revamped. More than 300 stores will be converted over the next three years.