Bennetts makes a virtual return
The Bennetts department store has returned as a virtual business with the launch of a new retail website.
Billed as the world’s oldest department store, the shop went into administration last year and closed its doors that October after being bought by Derby businessman Paul Hurst.
Since then, Hurst has been working with Bennetts suppliers both old and new to source gifts, food and drink, homewares, nursery items, toys and games as well as Christmas decoration ranges. His team has also been clearing the remaining contents and fittings from the store and archiving the historic records of the business which was established in 1734.
Hurst said: “We started planning the website as soon as the stock clearance sale finished 12 months ago – and then we hit lockdown.
“Despite the challenges, we are delighted that Bennetts’ new website perfectly reflects the quality and choice that shoppers enjoyed instore for so many years.
“This launch is therefore a pinnacle in our long-term project to ensure the Bennetts brand remains strong with a 21st century online shopping experience.
“We have initially concentrated on ranges that proved particularly popular with shoppers previously and will be expanding the website over the coming months to include, for example, men’s and women’s designer fashion labels.”
Hurst also said that he remains committed to reopening the physical store in the city’s Cathedral Quarter.
He explained: “There is a great deal of work required to bring the Iron Gate premises back into full use and lockdown and the ongoing restrictions have obviously pushed back the timeline to achieving this. However, I am hopeful that we will be able to announce progress early next year.
“We can then forge ahead with our plans for a modern retail theatre experience with events and new brands that will make it a destination in the Cathedral Quarter – creating 30 new jobs right here in Derby.
“Retail is changing and evolving and we will ensure Bennetts will be at the forefront of those changes as it has been for nearly three centuries.”
The new website also features a section on the history of the store and includes details of the many celebrities who visited Bennetts over the years.
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