Barker and Stonehouse has been given the go-ahead to build a new store in Gateshead, on the former Snow + Rock site at the Metro Centre Retail Park.

The new store will double the size of the retailer's existing Gateshead base, with nearly 50,000 sqft of retail space across three floors, and will also create 20 new jobs.

MD James Barker says: “We always want to provide something different for our customers, an approach which has proved successful over our 75-year history – not only with a diverse product range, but also by ensuring our stores far surpass the design expectations of any out-of-town retail outlet.

“This new location is ideal. It’s at the heart of an already bustling retail community, and we’re excited to grow our offer here. Our roots are very much in the North East, with my grandfather having started the business in 1946 in Stockton on Tees. It’s great to be strengthening our presence by further investing in the region.”

The new store, which is set to open in late 2022, will boast dramatic architecture, imaginative roomsets, and visual displays fashioned from an array of Barker and Stonehouse’s furniture and accessories. In addition, visitors will be able to relax in a mezzanine-level bistro run by chef Daryl Chadwick.

As the first UK furniture retailer of scale to achieve Carbon Neutral Plus status earlier this year, Barker and Stonehouse is mindful of its impact on the environment, and its Gateshead store will boast energy-saving lighting, a solar panelled roof and thermal insulation. The store will also be built using more timber frames as opposed to steel, which is not only environmentally friendly but also energy saving, and the site will include electric vehicle charging points.

James adds: “We have twice as many stores as we did 10 years ago but still use the same amount of power. This is the direct result of our carbon-reducing initiatives. To become the company that we would like to become, there is still a distance to go, but we are making good and consistent progress.”

This latest investment comes after a further £1m investment in new technologies earlier this year, which is set to improve interactive the retailer's customer experiences, both in-store and online.

Pictured: A visualisation of the new store, courtesy of YEME Architects