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Sports Direct takes over previous M&S store on Church Street

1 month ago

By Chris Grundy

Sports Direct takes over previous M&S store on Church Street
M&S Church Street - Compton House. Credit: Liverpool BID

It has been announced that Sports Direct have taken over the lease of Compton House… which you all probably know as the M&S on Church Street!

Sports Direct, the national chain, has made a significant move by acquiring the lease for Compton House, widely recognised as the former Marks and Spencer store on Church Street.

This Grade II-listed building had housed the high street giant since 1928, but it closed its doors in August last year, paving the way for a relocation to the former Debenhams store in Liverpool ONE.

Amidst speculation among city retail insiders about the Church Street location undergoing a transformation into a mixed-use development, with residential spaces on the upper floors and a prominent sports retailer on the ground floor, today (24 January) marks the confirmation of Frasers Group, the parent company of Sports Direct, officially taking over the site.

Jennina O’Neill, Chair of Liverpool BID’s Retail and Leisure Board and Centre Manager at Metquarter, said:

“We knew that Compton House wouldn’t stay empty for long and Sports Direct will bring a great deal of footfall to Church Street and will add to that mixed retail experience in the heart of the city centre. 

“Compton House is a flagship building in Liverpool City Centre and any plans for it must match the ambition of the stunning build, so we are delighted to see that Fraser’s Group, as they announce the lease, have talked about their plans for a ‘next generation’ experience. Retail theatre is a major part of the modern shopping experience and we know that Sports Direct delivers that around the globe, so we’re excited to see what they bring for shoppers on Church Street. 

“We’re also looking forward to seeing how their plans will impact the streets alongside Compton House and onto Williamson Square as the right development can be transformative for the city centre.”

It is not yet clear what will happen to the Sports Direct store in Liverpool ONE.

About Compton House:

Liverpool oldest shops - The Guide Liverpool Picture Credit: Liverpool Record Office
Compton House 1870

Better known as M&S on Church Street, in 1867 the Grade II listed Compton House was the UK’s first purpose-built department store and the world’s largest store with five floors. 

Compton House was owned by American brothers William and James Reddecliffe Jeffrey who set up Jeffery & Co in 1832 with a clothiers, cabinet makers and around 180 staff living in the upper floors of the store. In 1865 an arson attack by a former employee destroyed the original building which was quickly rebuilt only two years later in 1867.

By 1871 the store was converted into Compton Hotel and described as the finest and most central in the city, catering mainly to American guests due to the brother’s shipping connections, and offering a number of shops including a hatters, hosiery and drapers. 

The hotel closed in 1927, and the following year, Marks & Spencer moved from the store they had opened in Lime Street in 1903 to make Compton House their flagship Liverpool store.

For more of the latest news in Liverpool click HERE.

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