HARVEY Norman will open an outlet in Ipswich, sparking hope of a revival in the city centre.
After months of speculation, Harvey Norman chairman Gerry Harvey has told the Ipswich News: "We will be opening there (Ipswich). We will be open prior to Christmas."
However, Mr Harvey would not reveal if the new outlet would be in the CBD, despite Ipswich City Square long being rumoured as the most likely location.
Ipswich City Properties chairman Councillor Paul Tully said he was hoping a a new national retailer for Ipswich City Square would be announced within the next week and a half.
"The CBD has been in the doldrums for years," Cr Tully said.
"In part, this is due to the major suburban shopping centres.
"A national retailer will give residents a reason to come back in to the CBD."
Cr Tully said a further announcement regarding Ipswich City Properties' joint venture partner for the redevelopment of Ipswich City Square was expected mid-year.
CBD Traders Association president Bob Slater said the introduction of a national retailer such as Harvey Norman was what ``we've all been waiting for''.
"It will be a breath of fresh air for the CBD.''
Chris Strudwick, whose business Struddys Sports occupies the Ipswich City Square location tipped to accommodate Harvey Norman, confirmed his store's relocation.
"We don't expect to move until mid-July,'' Mr Strudwick said.
"I think it'll be a positive definitely. We're moving because something's going in where we are and that's the real positive. That will be very good for us.''
Mr Strudwick said his 35-year-old business, which would undergo a name change following the move, would relocate to the shop space above Ipswich Fitness.