Lidl, B&M Dunbar plans lodged

HELLO and welcome to the AM Business Briefing, as recruiter Hays has hailed September as its best month since the pandemic struck as firms worldwide scramble to secure talent amid a skills shortage.

The group saw like-for-like fees jump 41% in its first quarter to the end of September, with last month delivering the strongest fees since the start of the Covid-19 crisis and a record performance across a raft of sectors and countries.

Hays chief Alistair Cox said the group is seeing “clear signs of skill shortages and wage inflation, particularly at higher salary levels”.

Separately, Pizza giant Domino’s has said it plans to hire more than 8,000 drivers across the UK and Ireland as part of preparations for the busy Christmas period and under plans to open 30 new stores this year.

Also today, two major retailers have been announced for an East Lothian retail park, an East Kilbride drinks delivery firm is on track to to hit £1m in sales in its first year, and an energy storage facility in Fife has been acquired by overseas investors.

Major stores unveiled for retail park

Two major retailers have been announced for DunBear Pak, Dunbar.

Detailed planning applications have been submitted to East Lothian Council for Lidl and B&M stores, as well as essential road infrastructure, creating up to 80 jobs.

With site infrastructure this is set to deliver £30 million of investment in the development.

The joint application by Hallhill Developments Limited, Lidl and B&M follows planning applications for roads, footpaths and essential infrastructure submitted last year, together with renewable energy proposals for the site.

The 54.3-acre development is designed around The DunBear, the five-metre high steel sculpture of a brown bear which pays tribute to Dunbar-born naturalist, John Muir, credited with playing a key role in the establishment of National Parks in the USA. DunBear Park is part of the Hallhill development.

The mixed-use development, which aims to include office, industrial, retail, leisure, extra care facilities, community and residential uses, will adopt the latest low carbon technology.

Ken Ross from Hallhill Developments Limited said: “At a time when retailers are scaling back due to the pandemic, it is great to be able to announce that these operators will be coming to DunBear Park. This will address the increased demand and provide greater competition, key themes that came from the community consultation exercise we undertook.

“This £30 million investment will deliver up to 80 much-needed new jobs for the local community, which is a clear vote of confidence in this location and will also serve to deliver the necessary infrastructure to allow us to bring forward further investment into Dunbar.”

Philip Mellor, of the Dunbar Traders’ Association, said: “Developments such as this complement Dunbar town centre, and through preventing retail leakage to elsewhere in East Lothian and Edinburgh will keep more money in the town.”

Drinks firm set to hit £1m in sales in first year

A drinks delivery service launched last year as a result of the pandemic is set to break £1 million in sales as it gears up for the busy festive season.

Based in East Kilbride, Liquid Vault provides mixed boxes of beers, ciders and spirits from mainly Scottish brands. The business is headed by industry veteran Craig Cowles, along with co-founders Graeme Harrowell and David Proctor.

Scottish battery storage plant bought by overseas investors

An energy storage facility in Fife has been acquired by overseas investors in a deal that reflects strong interest in the sector amid the energy transition.

TagEnergy acquired the Roaring Hill battery storage project near Glenrothes from renewable energy company RES for an undisclosed sum.

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