A DISCOUNT superstore is to open in Stockton, creating 40 jobs.

B&M is moving into the former 35,000sq ft Woolworths premises, in the Castlegate Shopping Centre, later this month.

The company specialises in selling top brands at discount prices and already has more than 100 stores across the UK.

It is the latest company to confirm its arrival in Stockton, with Cafe M and Klickpoint also due to move into the shopping centre in the High Street before the end of the year.

In recent months, Stockton Borough Council officers have been trying to identify ways of improving the town centre as the area had been seeing an increase in the number of vacant premises.

B&M is planning to open its doors on Wednesday, October 14.

John Clift, Castlegate Shopping Centre manager, said: “Shopping for bargains is obviously very popular at present and it has almost become trendy to search out quality items at bargain prices. When money is tight, everyone has to make sure the household budget stretches that extra yard. The arrival of B&M further reinforces Castlegate’s successful value-for-money retail offer.”

Council leader Coun Ken Lupton said the news of new shops was a positive sign that things were improving for the town.

“The fact we are attracting additional shops into the town centre is definitely a good thing,” he said.

“It means there are more job opportunities and shoppers have more options.

“We (the council) have been working in partnership with Stockton’s town centre management committee to look at ways of improving the town centre.

“We have had a few empty premises recently, but it is a positive sign we are able to attract businesses in this economic climate.”

Coun Lupton added: “They (B&M) are already starting work on the former Woolworths store. The jobs they are creating is great news. With new shops arriving and all the events that we put on in the High Street area, it is going to attract more people.”

In addition, a new Aldi store could open just 500m outside the town centre, in Yarm Lane, if the council planning committee gives the project the go-ahead later this year.

Residents living in the area are backing the proposal, claiming they need somewhere close to get their groceries, as they cannot afford to travel. It was deferred at a planning meeting earlier this year to allow building designs to be altered.