WOOLWORTHS’ former Swindon store has reopened after department store Bhs moved in.

Woolworths closed its doors on its Swindon store exactly a year ago after the company went into administration at the end of 2008.

The premises have been empty until this week when Bhs relocated yesterday to the Regent Street building.

The move is only temporary as the old Bhs store in Bridge Street is to be demolished as part of a £25m town centre development.

A multi-million pound store is due to rise from the ashes involving Bhs, Top Shop and River Island.

The work is being done by UK Commercial Property Trust and its development partners, Shearer Property Group (SPG), which is sending the bulldozers in to demolish the existing Bhs store and make way for 80,000 sq ft of prime new retail space – the equivalent of two football pitches.

The unit on the corner of Bridge Street and The Parade will form a new 10,000 sq ft flagship store for Top Shop. Another flagship store of 9,000 sq ft has been designed for River Island. Only four units now remain available to let.

Swindon Borough Council granted planning permission in last May enabling UKCPT and Shearer Property Group to proceed with the project.

The new Bhs store reopens in spring 2011 and Top Shop will open later this year.

Jeremy Sutton, a partner in Swindon chartered surveyors Keningtons, said it was great news for Swindon and especially the town centre.

“With the collapse of the Modus proposals for the town centre development this is exactly the good news that Swindon need. Not only have we got the promise of a really good new store, the old iconic Woolworths building has got a new lease of life.”

Guy Shearer of SPG said: “In this challenging economic climate, we are delighted to announce the start of this important redevelopment – it will transform this prime corner in the heart of Swindon’s retail hub.

“The news that Bhs, Top Shop and River Island will all take new flagship stores demonstrates retailer confidence in the future of Swindon.”