New retail superstore to rise from the ashes of Masters

A NEW superstore featuring national chains such as Anaconda, BCF, JB Hifi, The Good Guys and Super Amart will rise from the old Masters site in Toowoomba after it closes in December.

And while staff at the Masters store will be without jobs just two weeks before Christmas, about the same number of new jobs will become available once the new store opens in April next year.

The Home Consortium, a joint venture of Sydney based Aurrum Group, and Spotlight, and Chemist Warehouse, has agreed to purchase the 82 Masters sites for an undisclosed sum.

A media release announcing the purchase said the new stores would be "anchored by a selection of Australia's leading home, hardware, family and lifestyle retailers."

"Popular and successful national retail brands like Spotlight, Anaconda, Chemist Warehouse, JB Hi-Fi, The Good Guys, Super Amart, BBQs Galore, Boating Camping Fishing (BCF), Super Cheap Auto and Amart Sports, as well as Woolworths Supermarkets, Dan Murphy's and Bunnings Warehouse, have entered into preliminary agreements to lease space in the new Centres," the statement said.

A large majority of the retail space across the portfolio was already "pre committed", it said.

"Based on the operations of its tenants, the Home Consortium expects around 8,000 retail jobs will be created by the time the portfolio is fully leased and operational, more than offsetting job losses (of up to 7700) following the closure of Masters later this year."

"Our concept and plans for the centres have been actively tested and developed with very successful retailers who recognise its potential, especially the opportunity to gain exposure to population growth regions across Australia."

It plans to begin re-opening the new shopping centres from April 2017.

A more detailed plan on specific sites such as Toowoomba is expected within six weeks.

The consortium will then apply for the necessary development approvals from local councils to refit the stores for multiple tenants.

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