A week in Wigan town centre: a new store arrives, another expands and a third is about to launch

These are tough times for the high street but Wigan shoppers have at least three new things to be cheerful about as Christmas approaches.
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For the Grand Arcade is getting a triple boost this week.

Most conspicuously, the former WHSmith shop has been taken over by the retailer Gift Box which, for the next three months will be selling cut-price toys, clothes, household items and other presents, many for less than £5.

Meanwhile the much-anticipated launch of Gamer X in the large, first floor unit previously occupied by DW Sports is said to be imminent.

The Gift Box is about to open in the former WHSmith unit on StandishgateThe Gift Box is about to open in the former WHSmith unit on Standishgate
The Gift Box is about to open in the former WHSmith unit on Standishgate
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It’s the mall’s first leisure outlet and word of its arrival has caused a big stir on social media.

The attraction will boast many activities and zones, from an exclusive toddler-dedicated area to a bounce/inflatable area, karting zone, arcades, and VR gaming, table tennis and more. There will also be an on-site cafe, party rooms, and an impressive laser maze.

In further news, so successful has retailer GamesNMore’s move into the Grand Arcade been earlier this year that owner Tony Porter has already upgraded into another unit three times bigger this week – the one which used to be occupied by Menkind.

And Wigan Today understands that there are hopes that another business will soon be moving into the second hand DVD and computer games retailer’s newly vacated unit.

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It is particularly pleasing to see the old WHSmith building being pressed into service again as it is one of the most prominent units anywhere in Wigan town centre. It only recently played host to a Wigan Casino 50th anniversary exhibition. Gift Box’s arrival though has taken quite a lot of people by surprise, including Grand Arcade bosses!

A spokesperson for the mall said: “It has all happened very quickly but we are delighted.

"Gift Box occupied the pop-up shop space last year but they are taking up a much bigger unit this time and while it is only a temporary, three-month lease, it’s good to see the space used and with proper signage.

"We are sure there are many bargains to be had for Christmas shoppers. The store looks fully stocked already and we have been told it is likely to open on Thursday or Friday this week.”

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