Shropshire Star

£750,000 investment paves way for firm's new Mid Wales HQ

A major investment of more than £750,000 will allow a home and outdoors chain to expand by building a new headquarters and depot in Mid Wales.

From left, Martyn Evans, executive director of Alun Griffiths, whose engineering and construction contractors are undertaking work at the new Charlies headquarters and e-commerce fulfilment centre, Economy Secretary Ken Skates and Rebecca Lloyd, managing director designate of Charlies Stores.

Charlies Stores is celebrating as the Welsh Government is investing £752,000 on site preparation works to enable the family-run business to build a new 108,000 sq ft headquarters and e-commerce fulfilment centre on Offa's Dyke Business Park in Welshpool, moving from its current headquarters in Newtown, where it has been based for the past 30 years.

To mark the start of the work, Welsh Economy Secretary Ken Skates joined Charlies Stores managing director designate Rebecca Lloyd earlier this week on the seven acre site to cut the first turf.

Mr Skates said: "The Welsh Government has worked closely with Charlies Stores to support their plans to expand and grow in Mid Wales and I am delighted work is now underway preparing the site for development.

"Charlies are a very important employer and their planned investment will ensure its continued long term sustainable growth in Mid Wales, supporting and creating jobs locally and helping to develop the competitive edge of this particular region of Wales."

Ms Lloyd said: "We are delighted to see groundwork begin on our new headquarters and distribution centre. We are proud to call Mid Wales our home and are pleased we can continue to do this with this new state-of-the-art facility.

"As a growing business, this represents an exciting time for us and will give us the option to expand even further in the future."

The firm haven't confirmed whether the move will create any new jobs but currently it employs more than 400 staff across eight stores.

The company sells goods ranging from footwear and cooking utensils to chainsaws and camping equipment.

Online sales have seen an 80 per cent year on year growth with the firm having ambitions for internet sales driving its future growth.

It currently operates across multiple sites in Newtown and Welshpool, many of which are reaching full capacity – Ms Lloyd said consolidating their operations under one roof at the planned new e-commerce centre will enable the company to increase efficiencies, serve a larger number of stores and grow its web based business.

Charlies has stores in Newtown, Welshpool, Aberystwyth, Carmarthen, Deeside and Shrewsbury. Last year it opened a second outlet in Aberystwyth.

The work is expected for completion during early 2018.

The work includes levelling the site, diverting a public footpath, the demolition of existing infrastructure works including a length of road and an electricity sub station.