TWO shops in York city centre have been saved from closure - while a new fashion store is set to open soon.

High Street stalwart HMV in Coney Street and shoe retailer Shoe Zone in High Ousegate were both originally due to be axed but will now stay open, apparently following successful negotiations with landlords over rents.

Meanwhile, signs have gone up outside the New Street entrance to the long-closed former BHS store, saying: “Flannels opening soon.”

The developments are a welcome boost for the city centre after a recent spate of shop closures, including French Connection in Davygate, LK Bennett in Petergate and Whistles in Stonegate, with the Dorothy Perkins and Burton shop in Coney Street also earmarked for closure as part of a proposed company voluntary arrangement by Arcadia Group.

Closure signs appeared in the windows of the HMV store in March, just weeks after the company went into administration, with staff told it was due to shut for good by April.

HMV managing director Neil Taylor said then that the company had been led to believe it could reach an agreement with the landlord, and it was "extremely disappointing" that negotiations had ultimately been unsuccessful.

But the shop remained open in April, with Mr Taylor saying then that negotiations remained ongoing, adding: “We have until the end of July to agree terms of a new lease with the landlord.”

He said it was an "ongoing process", York was a store he would like in the portfolio and he was hopeful the landlord would agree a deal enabling it to have a long term future in the city.

The closure signs have now gone and staff are telling customers the store will not be closing, although they declined to speak to The Press yesterday and Mr Taylor was unavailable for comment.

The Press reported in December that signs had gone up in the window of Shoe Zone, warning: “Closing down for relocation.”

A spokeswoman said then it was moving to an out of town location due to the rent and rates being too high.

But a spokesman said yesterday that it would now be staying open until at least July next year, and hopefully longer, following successful negotiations with the landlord, having also opened a new store at Clifton Moor.

Phil Pinder, chair of York Retail Forum, said it was "great to hear" that the stores were staying open, and he hoped that landlords were now taking a more "realistic" attitude towards the rent that they charged when leases came up for renewal on city centre properties.

The Press revealed in April that Flannels, a fashion chain owned by Sports Direct and selling designer brands such as Gucci, Agent Provocateur and Givency, could open in part of the former BHS building, which has lain empty since 2016.

The retailer wanted planning permission to create a new shop front for a two-storey shop, which would be based in 745sqm of the property and have a concierge to open doors for customers.

Permission has now been granted by City of York Council and a huge sign has been installed on the shop front indicating that Flannels will open "soon".