Swindon town centre was given another massive vote of confidence this week with the announcement that Debenhams is about to get a £1.5m refit.

The department store on The Parade and Fleming Way is one of just three chosen by the UK office for a major facelift and expansion with the introduction of major new upmarket brands and concessions.

The refit, which begins on March 15, and is scheduled to last around 16 weeks, will see the first floor devoted entirely to women’s fashion, greater floorspace throughout, more than £300,000 spent on an extended cosmetics hall and the opening up of the escalator housing into an atrium to give a bird’s eye view of all the floors on the way up and down.

Debenhams manager Julie Brand said she and her staff are elated that the Swindon town centre store has been selected for the overhaul.

“This is a huge boost for us and for Swindon,” said Julie.

“Only three stores in the entire country have been chosen for a major refit – us, Glasgow and Manchester.

“The exterior of the store will look really attractive. We’ve got a brand new fascia onto The Parade and we’re re-opening the Fleming Way entrance and putting new vinyls along Fleming Way to brighten that side up as well.

“Inside, we’re introducing new brands including Dune, Fuse, Coast and Henry Holland, as well as a Classics World shop that will feature favourites like Eastex. The second floor will have lingerie, including Ted Baker lingerie, and children’s wear, sportswear and our Home department. The whole store will be more open and easier to navigate, and the view from the escalator will be phenomenal. This really will be like having a brand new store in Swindon.”

Parade manager Brian Morris said the refurbishment is another plus for shoppers in the town centre.

“The BhS redevelopment work is already underway, and this new-look Debenhams will make shopping in The Parade an even better experience,” said Brian.

Simon Jackson, CEO of town centre management company inSwindon, also welcomed the news.

“After the recent retail figures showed that Swindon’s level of empty shops is below the national average, this investment is yet another indication that there is confidence that Swindon is a place with a healthy economic future and demand for quality and value,” said Simon.

Debenhams said that there will be very little disruption to the sales floors because most of the work undertaken by the nominated contractor Wedderburn will take place overnight.

Debenhams will also be extending their Service World, which includes a click and collect service, Gold Card lounge, an alteration service and a wedding gift service.

Debenhams have linked up with Thomas Cook and Sandals, so that friends and family can choose a contribution to the happy couple’s chosen honeymoon rather than a household gift if they prefer.