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East Anglia Future 50

Where did it go wrong for Marks & Spencer? Shoppers in Ipswich have their say

PUBLISHED: 15:28 23 May 2018 | UPDATED: 17:19 23 May 2018

Marks & Spencer. Picture: ROSS HALLS

Marks & Spencer. Picture: ROSS HALLS

Archant

Ipswich shoppers shared their fears for the future of Marks & Spencer, and the Ipswich store, as news of the group's financial woes was revealed.

Loyal M&S shopper Brenda Robinson. Picture: ROSS HALLSLoyal M&S shopper Brenda Robinson. Picture: ROSS HALLS

There was a steady flow of customers through the main doors of the Ipswich department store, in Westgate Street, but significantly, very few were coming out carrying the store’s own shopping bags.

Many shoppers had only been to the food section.

Customer Ian Crane stopped on the way in, to visit the food department.

“The problem is there,” he said, indicating Primark opposite. “There is too much competition. Even the food is more expensive than the supermarkets, but it is convenient to pop in, in town.

Gill Abbott, from Framlingham. Picture: ROSS HALLSGill Abbott, from Framlingham. Picture: ROSS HALLS

“It has competition in here and out-of-town. I think, unfortunately, M&S will end up totally online.”

He could not remember the last time he had bought clothes there. “It is a generational thing. There used to be a time when everything was made in Britain, but it isn’t now.”

Loyal M&S shopper Brenda Robinson said: “I have been a customer for years. I still like it and find they have such good clothes. Whenever I am in town I come in, even if I don’t spend anything.”

Gill Abbott, from Framlingham, felt that the store had lost its way.

Pauline Kerridge, from Snape. Picture: ROSS HALLSPauline Kerridge, from Snape. Picture: ROSS HALLS

“I see I am in the demographic 55+ but I feel they have lost out on prices and quality. I wouldn’t want to see it off the High Street though.”

Young mum Rachel Bailey, with her son, came out of the doors.

“My mum shops here, but I don’t. We have just been into the food department for fruit and dairy free pancakes.

“Why would somebody go in to buy a skirt for £30 when you can get one from Primark or Peacocks for half the price? Even if it is nice stuff?”

Robert Price. Picture: ROSS HALLSRobert Price. Picture: ROSS HALLS

Pauline Kerridge, from Snape, said: “I love Marks & Spencers. I have probably been shopping here 50 years. It would be sad if anything happened here. I looked at some jeans, but didn’t buy anything today.”

Robert Price tends to nip into the food department on the way home, he said, but doesn’t buy M&S clothes or home furnishings.

“They have a problem competing with out-of-town and on-line, but it is more than that. They have an age problem. The younger generation don’t want to go to M&S for clothes.”

Friends Linda Hardman and Linda Lewis came out of the store without buying anything.

Ms Lewis said: “I bought some nice trousers, two pairs, the last time I came in, but not today.”

Ms Hardman added: “We do buy clothes here from time to time. I enjoyed it more before they went for younger customers, and not for our age group.”

Loyal shoppers Hazel Harvey and Sarah Hitchcock, said the quality of clothes had suffered recently.

Ms Hitchcock said: “I think it is two years since I really bought anything.”

Ms Harvey added: “The quality of mens’ clothes has also been poor.”

Another older female customer, who did not want to be named, said she felt M&S had got it wrong. “I can’t find a single thing for me, it is as if they don’t want me. I used to shop there. It is aimed at young girls, I think.”

And a male shopper said: “I have just been in for coffee. I can’t remember the last time I bought anything in the clothes department.”

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