'Deserves better' - public react as Sport Direct move into beautiful old M&S building

Shoppers are split over the tenants of grade-II listed Compton House on Church Street.

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Liverpool shoppers have had their say after it was announced this week that a flagship Sports Direct store would be moving into the grand Compton House building on Church Street in the city centre.

The grade-II listed building had been occupied by Marks and Spencer since 1928, but the retailer moved to the former Debenhams site in Liverpool One last year. Compton House has remained empty since the move was completed in August.

But that will soon to change. Discount sportswear shop Sports Direct has acquired the 103,000 sq ft building. Over the next 18 months, work will be carried out to transform Compton House into a flagship store and gym.

The news has received a mixed reaction from shoppers. Many are happy to see the building put to use, rather than left vacant. Others want something more 'grand' for the historic building in the heart of Liverpool.

  • On Facebook, LiverpoolWorld reader Ruth Dobson said: "I thought it was going to be a hotel. I wish M&S hadn't made their move to the old Debenhams building. Big mistake."
  • Christine Prescott said it would mean "a good building ruined."
  • Christine Radcliffe said the "beautiful old building deserves better."
  • David Edward Silva Perez said: "Omg no! It should be converted into a Grand hotel."
  • Reddit. User 'pip3000' said: "Sports Direct and Decathlon opposite doesn't make Liverpool look like a great shopping place. They could have tried to open some independent shops in the building on a smaller scale."
Compton House, Liverpool, was the home of M&S for nearly 100 years. Image: Google Street ViewCompton House, Liverpool, was the home of M&S for nearly 100 years. Image: Google Street View
Compton House, Liverpool, was the home of M&S for nearly 100 years. Image: Google Street View

However, on the flip side, many said it's a good thing, as it's hard to fill a store of that size, especially in a central location.

  • Commenting on our Facebook page, John McArdle said: "Good. One less empty shop."
  • Tom Sahara added: "Good that its going to be filled, unlikely to get many takers for a store that size these days."
  • Maureen Rogers called it 'good news'.

Upon the announcement of the purchase, Frasers Group head of acquisitions James France told Liverpool Business News: “We are pleased to confirm that we have acquired Compton House located on Liverpool’s renowned Church Street. We are big believers in physical retail and this acquisition marks an exciting time for the group as we continue to expand our store portfolio across the UK and Europe.

“As the UK’s leading destination for sportswear, we are looking forward to bringing Liverpool customers a next-generation sports retail experience with the opening of a 70,000 sq ft Sports Direct flagship store. Subject to approval, Everlast Gyms will also open a 23,000 sq. ft hybrid gym in the space.”