Find out which Marks and Spencer stores could close in East Anglia
- Credit: PA
Marks & Spencer stores in East Anglia have been earmarked for closure, in a move affecting 95 staff.
A total of 38 staff at Marks & Spencer’s store in Newmarket are facing an anxious time after the store was proposed for closure under radical plans to revive the high street chain’s fortunes.
Meanwhile, the Clacton-on-Sea mixed clothing and food store, employing 57, is set to close - but a new store is being launched at nearby Walton-on-the-Naze in late 2018, and it is expected most will transfer to it, or to Colchester. The new store is timed to open at the time the Clacton store closes.
At Newmarket, a spokesman said the company was working with staff to discuss redeploying to other stores, such as Bury St Edmunds, which is 16 miles away, or Cambridge, which is 14 miles from the town.
Marks & Spencer, which is proposing the closure of the Newmarket outlet, along with a number of ‘underperforming’ stores, says it is now entering consultation with affected employees.
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M&S said it remained committed to serving customers in the Clacton area through a number of other locations including Clacton Outlet and Colchester. Both of these stores offer Click & Collect for customers who purchase online at M&S.com.
The chain is to close 100 stores by 2022 as it accelerates a transformation programme. The closures will affect its clothing and home stores, which have underperformed for several years.
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M&S named 14 stores earmarked for closure this week, with 21 already having shut.
Calum Telford, head of region for East Anglia at Marks & Spencer, said: “Proposing to close M&S Newmarket has been a difficult decision. Over the coming weeks we’ll be speaking to all 38 colleagues about what is best for them, they will be fully supported throughout the consultation.
“We’ll continue to serve customers from our nearby stores in Cambridge and Bury St Edmunds.”
Marc O’Connor, head of region for Essex, said: “The decision to close M&S Clacton was incredibly difficult. Our dedicated colleagues will relocate to nearby stores including M&S Colchester, Clacton Outlet and our new Walton-on-the-Naze Foodhall, which is due to open in 2019.”
Neil Stock, Tendring District Council Leader, said he was saddened to hear of M&S plans to close its Clacton store in early 2019.
“First and foremost I extend my thoughts to the staff affected by this announcement, it must be a worrying time for them and their families,” he said.
“We will use our excellent partnership links with DWP to ensure that support is available for any employees should it be needed.
“The council will look to work with M&S to find new tenants for the location as soon as possible to keep Clacton town centre vibrant and an attractive offer for shoppers and other businesses.”
Retail, operations and property director Sacha Berendji said: “We are making good progress with our plans to reshape our store estate to be more relevant to our customers and support our online growth plans.
“Closing stores isn’t easy but it is vital for the future of M&S. Where we have closed stores, we are seeing an encouraging number of customers moving to nearby stores and enjoying shopping with us in a better environment, which is why we’re continuing to transform our estate with pace.”
M&S said Bayswater, Fleetwood Outlet and Newton Abbot Outlet will close by the end of July 2018. Clacton and Holloway Road will both close by early 2019. Darlington, East Kilbride, Falkirk, Kettering, Newmarket, New Mersey Speke, Northampton, Stockton and Walsall are proposed for closure and will now enter a period of consultation with all 626 affected employees.