Sports Direct has acquired the freehold of a former TJ Hughes building in a town centre, relocating from a nearby out-of-town retail park in the process.

The sports and leisure giant completed the purchase of a 46,416 sq ft building in the centre of Corby, Northamptonshire, and has relocated from a nearby retail warehouse park.

The building, on Queens Square, was previously occupied by discount retailer TJ Hughes until 2011, when it closed its doors – which left a “major hole in the town’s high street”, according to the property firm behind the deal.

The retailer will trade its Sports Direct and USC fashion brands from the new store, and it is expected to be fully refurbished and open for trading by Easter 2020.

Simon Phipps, senior leasing, development and asset manager at Sovereign Centros, the property firm that completed the sale on behalf of Corby Town Centre SARL, said Sports Direct’s move “will be widely welcomed by other town centre retailers and Corby’s shoppers alike”, and showed that the high street still held a future for big retailers.

Sports Direct was advised on the purchase by Bidwell Webber De Pons.