Hughes opens new store in Cambridgeshire, but all branches will close on Boxing Day this year

Amid difficult trading conditions in the UK retail sector, independent chain Hughes Electrical has invested £50,000 to open a brand-new store in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire.

The retailer has been operating in the town since 1996 and has moved from its previous store in the market place to a brand new one in the Horsefair Shopping Centre.

It said it is “bucking the national trend” by supporting the UK’s high streets and local communities “at a time when many others are pulling out”.

The new store will be under the day-to-day control of Manager, David Youngs, who has been with the company for over 25 years, supported by Stephen Holt and Adam Gray, who have 21 and five years’ service respectively.

Commented Hughes Managing Director, Mark Wardell – who started his career at the Wisbech store in 1999: “I am delighted with this move as our new premises are much better suited to modern retailing and the needs of our customers.

Hughes MD Mark Wardell, left, and Wisbech Store Manager David Youngs

“There is plenty of space to display more products, while it is in the heart of the town’s retail area and we will be offering a ‘click & collect’ service together with rental options on most electrical items.

“We see it as a significant investment which underlines our long-term commitment to Wisbech.”

Closed on Boxing Day

Elsewhere, Hughes has announced that it will close all its stores on Boxing Day this year to enable its 700 staff to enjoy more time with their loved ones over the festive season.

Shutting more than 30 stores across seven counties in England – along with its delivery depots, trade, rental and head office operations, Chairman of the chain, Robert Hughes, said “this has been like no year any of us has experienced and about as far from normal as you can get.

“Traditionally, Boxing Day has been one of our busiest days as people head for the shops to pick up post-Christmas bargains. But we feel given this extraordinary year it is time to put our fantastic staff, and their families, ahead of normal business needs.

“All have been super flexible since the pandemic first hit, working flat-out to supply vital electrical goods to the NHS and vulnerable people during lockdown, while having to adhere to strict COVID secure protocols, or those who had to wait patiently while on furlough for our stores to reopen.”

Though physical stores will be closed for the day, customers will still be able to purchase goods via the Hughes website.

Mr Hughes continued: “Hughes is a proud family business and next year we celebrate our centenary so we felt it only appropriate to make this move as a big thank you to our staff, while we all look forward to a much brighter and better new year.”

The business will be trading normally up until Christmas Eve, while 10 of its larger stores will have extended opening hours during this period.