Barnitts to downsize its city centre store – and open new venue

Barnitts on Colliergate. Photograph: YorkMix

One of York’s best known stores is changing to meet the needs of modern shoppers.

Barnitts is to significantly reduce the size of its Colliergate store, and move some of its retailing to its James Street premises further out of town.

Under the plans…

  • the shop housed on 22-26 Colliergate will be retained as the smaller Barnitts store
  • 28A Colliergate – next door to Chloes cafe – will be converted to flats and ‘other commercial uses’
  • the Drill Hall on St Andrewgate will be turned into 12 townhouses.

Meanwhile a 7,000 sq ft retail store with car parking at James Street will open, selling furniture, garden furniture and lighting and offering a ‘click and collect’ service.

This received planning permission last year.

Better shopping experience

The Drill Hall – to become townhouses and apartments
Barnitts was established in 1896 and has been in the Thompson family since 1913, selling a wide range of home and garden products.

By reducing the city centre footprint the business will be able to re-invest in the downsized Colliergate premises and in the new James Street facility.


Managing director of Barnitts Paul Thompson said:

  • These changes are in response to the changing retail habits of customers and the evolution of the high street.

    They will allow us to offer a better shopping experience in our Colliergate store, as well as offering new services at James Street.

    The current building has become inefficient and so these changes will help to rationalise our operation and will mean we can put major investment into the shop and secure the future of the store for the next generations.

He said Barnitts was committed to York city centre: “This masterplan will safeguard the institution known as Barnitts that my family have built over many generations, thereby continuing to evolve and adapt for the future.”

New developments

The changing face of Colliergate
Property developer the Oakgate Group propose to refurbish 28A into modern commercial space with two apartments above. It will turn the former Drill Hall into a mews of 12 townhouses.

The company converted the Stonebow House building into a mix of apartments and commercial space, and has a long history of successful developments in and around York.

Executive director of York BID (Business Improvement District) Andrew Lowson said the plans for Barnitts sounded exciting.


“They are also progressive and testament to a retailer that is adapting to consumer habits. Modern retail is evolving, as is the use of city centre space.

“Barnitts is looking to re-purpose its floorspace, whilst keeping customer needs at the heart of its offer.

“We welcome the news that Barnitts wish to keep their presence in the city centre.”

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