Birmingham's reputation as a premier shopping destination has received a boost after Harvey Nichols revealed it is to expand its flagship Mailbox outlet.
The department store is to increase in size by more than a third to reflect its position as one of the strongest trading Harvey Nichols in the UK. Work to expand the store by 4,790 sq ft to 20,831 sq ft will begin in the New Year. The new-look Harvey Nichols is scheduled to open in the autumn of 2007, although the existing store will continue trading throughout that period.
"We are extremely excited about our expansion," said Joseph Wan, chief executive of Harvey Nichols Group Ltd, which opened the Birmingham shop five years ago.
"It reflects not only the success of our store in Birmingham but also the success of the city itself as a first class shopping destination.
"Over the past five years, retail in Birmingham has changed out of all recognition and I firmly believe that much of this confidence has come from companies such as ours deciding to open there."
Harvey Nichols currently has five other stores in the UK and Ireland including London, Leeds, Manchester, Edinburgh and Dublin, as well as a presence in Riyadh, Hong Kong, Dubai and Istanbul.
Alan Chatham, director of The Mailbox, said the development was a huge vote of confidence for the retail complex and the city.
He said: "The Mailbox has gone from strength to strength since its launch in 2000 and that is thanks in no small part to retailers like Harvey Nichols deciding to locate here.
"By expanding its operation, Harvey Nichols is sending out an extremely positive message to other quality retailers that The Mailbox attracts large numbers of potential customers who are prepared to spend significantly higher than the average shopper."
City centre director Jenny Inglis said: "Harvey Nichols’ arrival in Birmingham five years ago was a landmark development.
"It’s great news that the store is now expanding and providing Birmingham with yet another fabulous shopping destination."
The announcement coincided with one of the busiest shopping weekends of the year and the Bullring revealing it is extending weekday opening hours from today to 10pm.