M&S new look comes to East Anglia

IPSWICH town centre is set for a boost as a major store undergoes a multi-million pound facelift. The town's Marks & Spencer's branch in Westgate Street will be the first store in East Anglia to be redesigned as part of a nationwide M&S modernisation scheme.

IPSWICH town centre is set for a boost as a major store undergoes a multi-million pound facelift.

The town's Marks & Spencer's branch in Westgate Street will be the first store in East Anglia to be redesigned as part of a nationwide M&S modernisation scheme.

Under the plans, the 50,000sq ft store will be given a completely new look which will allow for more customer choice across womenswear in particular.

The new design will also see a Bureau de Change introduced and the popular Café Revive coffee shop doubling in size to 80 seats.

“We will be bringing cutting-edge design throughout the entire store and creating a fresh, new environment for our customers. This development reaffirms our commitment to Ipswich,” said store manager John Kyprianou.

“The whole team is looking forward to it. It's great that we have been chosen as part of the first rollout and it's going to be a lot of hard work, but the reward will be great at the end of it.

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“It's great for the town from the investment point of view, because with Allders closing down, it's not a big town centre. We just need to keep investing in Ipswich really.”

Work is due to start in early April and is scheduled to finish in August. The work will take place mainly in the evenings in order to cause minimum disruption to customers.

“We look a bit dated now, so this modernisation will give us a more up-to-date look. The last modernisation we had was 2001, four years ago,” said Mr Kyprianou.

“Years ago, it would have been 15 years and then you got a modernisation but just the way retail is at the moment, you have to keep ahead of the game. Retail is a cut-throat business.”

The store was “very lucky” to have been chosen, he said. So far around 30 to 40 stores have been given a more modern look, and these had been “a huge success”, he said.

“I do anticipate sales going up. I think the navigation of the store will be easy to follow from a customer's point of view.”

Paul Clement, head of The Ipswich Partnership, welcomed the modernisation plans.

“This is brilliant news and real vote of confidence for Ipswich. There will inevitably be more positive news to follow as this scale of investment will undoubtedly create new town centre jobs,” he said.