BLACKBURN will once again have a toy shop in the town centre when a new chain moves into The Mall.

The Entertainer, which has more than 100 stores in the UK, will open on April 23 in the unit formerly operated by Head Records.

It closed down at the beginning of the year after 15 months of trading in the old HMV unit, leading to eight employees losing their jobs.

Blackburn town centre has been without a toy shop since Mercer’s Toys shut down last August due to a dramatic drop in turnover.

Loraine Jones, general manager at The Mall, said she was looking forward to having a toy shop in the town centre again.

She said: “We are delighted to be welcoming The Entertainer to The Mall Blackburn and I am sure all our little shoppers are too.

“Launch day, which will take place on Saturday April 23, is set to be a fantastic, fun filled day for the whole family.

“Between 10am and 3pm there will be special guest appearances by Lego Ninjago Lloyd and everyone that purchases a Lego product will receive a free Lego gift.

“There will also be a whole host of demos and competitions and free balloons for shoppers.

“The Entertainer joins at a very exciting time for The Mall, and for Blackburn as a whole, as we all begin to reap the rewards of the regeneration work that has, and still is, taking place in the town.”

The closure of Mercer’s Toys was blamed on a number of factors such as the rise in internet shopping and a lack of parking in Darwen Street where it was based from 2009.

However a new Smyths Toys superstore opened last year on the Whitebirk retail park.

Blackburn councillor Jim Smith said he was delighted to hear that a toy store was coming back into the town.

He said: “I would absolutely welcome this new store into The Mall.

“Mercer’s was always there and was a big part of my childhood and it was a massive disappointment to see it go so hopefully this can be a new life for toys in Blackburn.”

The Entertainer was unavailable for comment.