The flagship store has been empty since 2021. Credit: Savills

Go Outdoors to fill void at Vangarde

The outdoor pursuits retailer is poised to take over at the former John Lewis store on the York shopping park.

An application to alter external signage has been lodged with City of York Council by Go Outdoors and Sapphire Signs.

Since 2016, Go Outdoors has been owned by the JD Sports group, the Greater Manchester sports and fashion giant paying private equity owners £112m for the business. The group was put into a Covid-linked administration in 2020 and then bought back.

In this application, the parties seek consent to display two sets of LED-illuminated fascia signs and live cladding to front and side elevations at Unit C Vangarde Way, Huntington.

The form also covers three sets of internally illuminated individual signs over doors to the building’s front and side elevations and an internally illuminated fascia sign to the rear.

Plans include an in-store cafe. According to marketing materials prepared by Savills, the store offers two floors of 63,000 sq ft to 65,000 sq ft each.

John Lewis shocked York shoppers with the announcement in March 2021 that the Vangarde store, regarded as a flagship for the park and opened as recently as 2014, was to permanently close as the retail group looked to trim its estate.

Go Outdoors currently trades from Foss Bank in York, but has been on the hunt for a new site as its lease is due to expire, with the landlord now planning other uses.

According to reports, a preferred location had been the former Argos store, now earmarked for a trampoline centre, due to open in February.

The application can be viewed on City of York Council’s planning portal with the reference 23/02371/ADV.

The retailer is part of the JD group. Credit: planning documents

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