Retail in Sunderland is preparing for an uplift, as leading store Next announces plans to expand.

Next is to take the vacant unit beside its existing store at the Bridges, increasing the store size from 10,221 sq ft to 14,710 sq ft.

The additional space will be used to offer more fashion and homeware ranges, with work on the expansion due to start immediately.

The plan is for the larger store to be open from the spring and will provide a boost to the city.

Andy Bradley, Centre Director at the Bridges, said the scheme was excellent news for both the centre and the city as a whole.

“Next is an extremely popular store and it’s fantastic to see the confidence this major retailer has in Sunderland with its expansion plans,” he said.

“It will be an additional incentive for shoppers to come to the centre, particularly as there will now be an even wider range of items for them to choose from.

“At a time when Sunderland is seeing a huge level of investment this is very welcome addition and shows how much the city has to offer.”