CLOTHING retailer H&M has fixed the date for the opening of its new store in Huddersfield.

The company will start trading from its two-floor 17,000sq ft premises at the Kingsgate Centre on Friday, August 28.

The Swedish-based retailer – which numbers celebrities Sophie Ellis Bextor and Katherine Jenkins among its high-profile customers – has recruited 20 staff for the new store.

Announcing the opening date, Kingsgate centre manager Jonathan Hardy said attracting the popular retailer to the town had been a “real coup”.

He said: “We have seen new retail developments in Leeds, Sheffield and Wakefield and I am sure they would have been pursuing H&M.

“To get H&M to Kingsgate is exciting. They will bring a fresh perspective to the mall and make the centre more attractive to other retailers.”

Kingsgate owner WD Kingsgate Ltd knocked through vacant units 20 and 20A to provide 7,000sq ft for H&M as well as adding a first floor above to give the retailer a further 10,000sq ft of shop floorspace.

Escalators and a lift have been installed to the first floor, which also includes 3,000sq ft of storage space.

The re-worked unit will be handed over to H&M tomorrow for the retailer to begin shopfitting.

Meanwhile, Kingsgate is seeking to extend the three-year time limit for implementing an existing outline planning approval for its Kingsgate 2 extension. An application has been tabled with Kirklees planning department and is expected to be approved by officers.

The Kingsgate owner, formerly WD Huddersfield Ltd, won its battle to build an extension to the shopping centre on appeal in December, 2008.

The 120,000sq ft extension would provide additional shops, a restaurant, a cafe and basement car parking.

But the company decided not to carry out the work in view of the onset of the credit crunch.

Mr Hardy said the recession meant the plans had been put “on the back burner.”

But, he added: “It has never been discounted.

“You should never say never and as the economy picks up, we will revisit it. We fought hard to get the permission in the first place as it had to go to appeal. To let it lapse now would be foolish.”