A PORTION of the former Woolies store in St Helens is re-opening this week as part of a retail discount chain, creating 35 new jobs.

The town centre shop in the Hardshaw centre has been lying empty since Woolworths closed in January, 2009.

It has now been filled with rows of shelves and transformed into a 99p store, which will open seven days a week.

This flourishing retailer has gone from a one man band to a national brand in just 10 years.

The store was founded by entrepreneur Nadir Lalani, who opened a shop in Holloway, north London, and now boasts 154 outlets, attracting more than 1.5 million customers every week.

The company aims to have 600 stores in the next 10 years.

Hussein Lalani, 99p stores boss, said: “At our new St Helens branch, there will be thousands of bargains. Not only everyday essentials, but lifestyle, fashion, household, gardening and lots lots more.”

Mr Lalani will be at the launch of the new store at 9am on Friday.

Many local people have been employed. Positions ranging from customer assistants to stock replenishment officers were advertised at Jobcentre Plus.