Early Learning Centre opening new store in Derbion’s M&S

today25 August 2022 3

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An Early Learning Centre will be opening within the Marks & Spencer store at Derby’s biggest shopping centre tomorrow. The toy specialist’s products will be available as part of a concession inside the British retail giant’s Derbion store from Friday (August 26).

The new ‘shop in shop’ area will stock toys, designed to support children’s learning and development. The new dedicated area will also offer interactive play tables complete with Happyland products for little shoppers to enjoy.

Visitors to the new store will be getting a special visit from a surprise Early Learning Centre character on opening day tomorrow. Joe Cunningham, store manager at M&S Derbion, said: “We’re delighted to have been chosen as one of the new stores across the country to be home to Early Learning Centre here at M&S Derby Derbion.

Read more: Get the latest retail stories from Derbyshire Live

“The team and I can’t wait to welcome families to our new interactive shopping experience, where little shoppers will be greeted with fun in-store activities to enjoy. We’re proud to serve Derbyshire families and the opening of our new Early Learning Centre shop is a great addition to the store’s growing family product range and services.”

Early Learning Centre was established in 1974 by John Beale. In March 2019, Early Learning Centre was acquired by The Entertainer, which also hosts concessions in many of its toy shops nationwide.

The new Derbion concession is one of 10 Early Learning Centre outlets opening within M&S stores this month. The others are Aberdeen, Argyle Street, Brighton, Croydon, Eden High Wycombe, Livingston, Merton, Milton Keynes and Worcester.

There was of course previously an Early Learning Centre within the Mothercare store at Wyvern Retail Park, but this closed at the end of 2019. It was replaced by The Food Warehouse, Iceland’s first bulk food outlet to open in the city, in October, 2020.

In other Derbion news, two food court outlets are closing down this week amid a major revamp worth more than £2 million. The city shopping centre has confirmed Pasta 4 U and Rikshaw Urban Indian Kitchen will both be shutting by the end of this week.

Work is getting under way to transform the centre’s Level 2 eating area into a new “food terrace” which will see 150 more seats installed and an American fried chicken eatery open this autumn.

Jack Wills, which stocks men’s and women’s fashion, opened on Level 2 in early July. The opening came nearly three years after Derby’s previous Jack Wills store on Sadler Gate, in the Cathedral Quarter, closed its doors.

Construction work started earlier this summer to get the highly-anticipated new Frasers store ready to open before Christmas. The department store will be taking up the city shopping centre’s biggest unit previously occupied by Debenhams for more than a decade before it closed in May, last year, to the sadness of many shoppers.


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