SHOE, watch and locksmith chain Timpson, which has a shop in Crompton Place, Bolton, has agreed a three-year £2.5 million loan with Royal Bank of Scotland to fund future development.

The Manchester-based firm, which has almost 900 Timpson and Max Spielmann branches, said it would expand its shop network, invest in apprenticeships and training for its 2,600 staff, and develop its retail plans.

It intends to open 70 new branches this year, mainly in supermarkets, but also on high streets. It also wants to expand the Max Spielmann photo shops chain which it bought it bought in 2008.

The group had an operating profit of £12.2 million last year.