WHO says it’s all doom and gloom on the High Street these days? One of Bournemouth’s biggest department stores is to under-go a multi-million pound makeover, bringing 50 new jobs in the town.

The revamp of Debenhams in The Square is due to take place in the new year and looks set to inject some much-needed cheer.

The company has already revealed a ten per cent increase in profits for the third year running to £166.1m.

Chief executive Michael Sharp said Bournemouth customers can expect “an exciting new look, a host of brand new features and top designer names” at the town centre store.

“A mixture of refurbishment, new brands and the addition of extra top designer and beauty brands deliver what effectively looks like a new store following a modernisation.

“I’m delighted that over the next few years more customers than ever before will have access to the UK’s top name beauty brands and designers.”

Nigel Hedges, president of the Bournemouth Chamber of Trade, welcomed the news and said it was a strong signal that the company has faith in the town.

“Hurrah for Debenhams. This is a fabulous opportunity to make the inside of the building as nice as it is on the outside. We have some fabulous architecture in the town but very often the interiors don’t do these buildings justice.”

The iconic department store used to be known as Bobby’s until it was renamed Debenhams in September 23 1972. DJ Terry Wogan was hired to perform the official ceremony.

Echo writer Emma Joseph worked part-time on the ground floor fashion department for two years when she was a student at Bournemouth University.

She has fond memories of her two years there as it is where she met her future husband James who was her supervisor at the time.

“We had some interesting customers. Buster Merryfield, the actor who played Uncle Albert in Only Fools and Horses used to be a regular. I often saw him shuffling around the store.

“People used to say the area near the staff lift at the back of the building was haunted. I never heard or saw anything.

“There were lots of young staff so there was a good social life too but we used to hate all the uniforms. We had to wear navy skirts which were a very unflattering length as they were just below the knee and peach satin blouses.

“When the company left the Arcadia group we were told we were going to get new uniforms so we were really excited until we discovered that they were just replacing the peach satin blouse for a lilac one.”

But much has changed since then and now more changes are on the way.

The Bournemouth branch is one of 45 stores due to be modernised.

There are also plans for nine new stores in the pipeline.

The chain, which operates 163 stores in the UK and Ireland, started as a draper’s shop in London in the 19th century.