A MAJOR revamp of Carlisle’s former Homebase store is underway.

The retailer shut up before Christmas after nearly two decades in the city.

However, not one but two new stores are set to take its place.

Builders have moved in to the site at Kingstown, and have begun stripping back the exterior of the store.

The extensive renovation will see popular household chain B&M move in to one half of the building, with Smyths Toy Superstore taking up residency next in the other half.

B&M already have a prescience in Carlisle, with three stores already.

One is based in the city centre on English Street, another at St Nicholas Retail Park on London Road, and the other is located on Wigton Road.

A spokesman from B&M told the News & Star: “We’re delighted to be opening another store in Carlisle and feel really positive about the creation of even more jobs for local people.

“We hope customer are going to be delighted with their new store and we can’t wait to welcome them through the door.”

The spokesman added the new B&M store is aiming to open to shoppers sometime in either late summer or early autumn.

Meanwhile, the arrival of Smyths Toy Superstore will be a first for Cumbria.

Currently, the nearest store is at the Metro Centre Retail Park in Gateshead in the north east.

The superstore chain sells a range of indoor and outdoor toys, plus bikes, nursery equipment and video games.

Nearby neighbour Keyisshoes, a family business run by Simon Richardson, has reiterated his plea to shoppers that his enterprise remains open while building work is carried out over the road.

The 50-year-old, previously took to social media to spread the word that his mobile shop isn’t going anywhere.

He said: “Our business suffered a drop in custom following the closure of Homebase, but we want to reiterate that we remain open in our usual spot in Kingstown.

“I’ve been told that construction will continue for several months until the new tenants move in.”

The building work begins just days after developers broke ground at the nearby Gateway 44 Retail Park.

Located just off junction 44 at the M6, Wren Kitchens, Oakfurniture Land and a Costa Coffee drive-through have all signed up as tennants. It opens this autumn.