A NEW outlet for fast food giant KFC will open in a town’s shopping centre later today.

The franchised branch of the fried chicken specialist will start trading in The Mall Blackburn.

It marks the return of KFC to Blackburn town centre after several years.

The outlet, operated by Sheffield-based QFM group, will create 40 part and full-time jobs.

The new KFC will use the unit that was formerly home to Clinton Cards next to Burger King in Victoria Court.

The last KFC in Blackburn town centre in King William Street closed several years ago.

All food served in the restaurant and takeaway will be halal.

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Loraine Jones, general manager of The Mall Blackburn, said: “We are thrilled to be welcoming KFC to The Mall Blackburn as we continue to extend our food and leisure offering.

“It perfectly complements our growing number of food outlets, from household names to independents, and gives families and friends another option for meeting and eating.”

Cllr Phil Riley, Blackburn with Darwen Council regeneration boss, said: “This is good news.

“We all want The Mall and Blackburn town centre to survive and prosper in these difficult times for retail and the high streets.

“KFC is a very popular national food chain and it will be very welcome in the town.”

The Mall has seen several new food outlets open in the last three years including Mr Simms Olde Sweetshop in June 2018, Yummy Cupcorn in September 2017, Burger King in December 2016, Costa Coffee on Ainsworth street and El Taco Loco in The Mall itself in December 2016, Muffin Break in The Mall proper and Greggs in Ainsworth Street in August 2016 and Krispy Kreme doughnuts in February 2016.

Founded in 1982, QFM operates dozens of franchised restaurants nationwide including many for KFC, Costa Coffee and Taco Bell.

In October KFC opened a outlet at the new services at the M65’s Whitebirk Junction 6.

Blackburn town centre has also seen a dramatic increase in the number of restaurants and food outlets recently, the latest being Frankie's on Salford which opened last month.

Other new eateries include East Z East in King Georges Hall, Steakout in Lower Audley Street, and A Mano, Turtle Bay and Cafe Northcote, all in Cathedral Square.

A Haute Dolci, dessert bar is set to open in Waterloo Pavilions in Church Street late this year.