FASHION and homewares retailer Matalan is set to open a store in Durham later this month, creating 70 jobs in the area.

The 18,000 sq ft outlet follows on from the opening of stores in Consett and Washington earlier this year.

The low-cost retailer already has 11 stores in the region, including two in the MetroCentre, Gateshead.

Peter Ryan, Matalan store manager said: "We can't wait to open our new store in Durham. It's an exciting time for myself and the other staff. I hope this rubs off on our customers too."

Matalan is in talks to sell its jeans subsidiary Lee Cooper - three years after buying the business for £45m.

The retailer said negotiations were at an early stage, but that the interested party had been given a period of exclusivity to explore the possibility of a bid.