NATIONAL chain WH Smith is to open a store in Malton. The company has confirmed that it will be opening a new shop at the former Woolworth’s premises in Wheelgate in July.

It will stock the full WH Smith range of books, stationery, toys, newspapers and sweets.

No details of the number of jobs to be created are yet available.

The site had been expected to reopen as the Original Factory Shop.

However, marketing director Colin Leggatt said that deal had fallen through at the last minute.

“We were all ready to complete when we were told the site owners had done a deal with someone else,” he added.

“We are definitely not happy as we had invested a lot of time and effort in the matter and we really wanted to be in Malton. The problem now is finding somewhere else that is big enough for us so we would love to hear from anyone who has a potential site.”

WH Smith is one of the country’s leading retail groups with 569 high street stores.

Denys Townsend, chairman of Malton and Norton Business in Action, said it was good news for the town.

“Hopefully it should attract more shoppers. Malton is a nice town that is riding the recession reasonably well and we look forward to more shops becoming occupied,” he said.

“However, it may have an unfortunate effect on one or two traders.”

David Lloyd-Williams, chairman of Malton and Norton area partnership, said: “I welcome people moving in to take up the empty shops and the healthy competition should not be a problem.

“To see closed shops reopening is a good way forward.”