A NEW Sports Direct store has opened in the area, bringing ten new jobs, four months after signage first went up at the site.

It has proved a long wait for the new store to open at the former DW Fitness gym and retail store in Gelderd Road, Birstall, exacerbated by the forced closure of retail due to the third national lockdown due to Covid-19.

Frasers Group, which owns the Sports Direct brand, took over the site last August after DW Fitness, owned by Bradford-born businessman Dave Whelan, went into administration last summer.

It was rebranded as Everlast Fitness, and now the site, which boasts a gym and workout rooms across two floors as well as a pool, hot tubs and steam room, now has the retail side of the site back open.

The space, on the first floor, measures 18,000 sq ft, and it has now become the fifth Sports Direct store in the Bradford area joining two stores in the city centre – one in the Kirkgate Shopping Centre and one at Forster Square Retail Park – the store at Cavendish Retail Park in Keighley, and the shop at Westside Retail Park in Guiseley.

The gym at Birstall joins one in Keighley as the area’s second Everlast Fitness premises.

Frasers Group bought up the DW Fitness empire for £37 million, which could rise to almost £44m, in August after it went into administration, putting 1,700 jobs at risk.

A spokesperson for Frasers Group, which owns the Sports Direct brand, said: “Frasers Group PLC, the UK’s leading sports retailer and lifestyle experts has opened the doors to a brand-new store in Birstall Leeds, as part of the group’s ongoing elevation programme.

“The new 18,000 sq. ft retail space has been opened inside the current Everlast Fitness, creating ten new jobs with the opening.

“Situated on the first floor of the building, the Sports Direct, will boast the very best in sports from brands including Nike, Adidas, Under Armour, Puma and Reebok.

“The opening of this new store in Leeds, demonstrates Frasers Groups’ commitment to investing in bricks & mortar by elevating current stores as well as opening new locations across the country.”

Sports Direct is part of the Frasers Group run by British businessman Mike Ashley, who has an estimated net worth of almost £2 billion, according to the 2019 Sunday Times Rich List.

As well as Everlast and Sports Direct, Mr Ashley, also owns House of Fraser, Flannels, Jack Wills, Evans Cycles and Newcastle United Football Club.

The 56-year-old entrepreneur employs almost 20,000 people across his wide array of businesses.