A MAJOR blow has been dealt to Portsmouth’s city centre as M&S has announced that it is considering closing its store.
Today the retailer announced that it is consulting with 100 staff members at the store in Cascades Shopping Centre about the closure.
If the proposal goes ahead all 100 would be redeployed at nearby stores.
The announcement is part of wider proposals to close six stores across the UK. If the proposal goes ahead, the store, which sells clothes and food, would close early next year.
M&S also announced today that is also planning to open a new foodhall in Portsmouth at Ocean Retail Park, in Burrfields Road, early in 2018.
Gordon Scott, regional manager at M&S, said: ‘Proposing to close our store in Portsmouth is not a decision we have taken lightly. We value the loyalty of our customers in the city and know that some of them will be disappointed by this proposal.
‘We are working closely with our colleagues on the consultation and would help them relocate to other stores, should the closure go ahead. It is our intention that nobody would leave M&S.
‘We are committed to delivering the very best of M&S for shoppers in the area, which includes the proposed new foodhall at Ocean Retail Park and our recently opened store in Havant.’
M&S Havant opened in 2016 and features clothing, home and food, as well as an M&S Café.
M&S also has an outlet store at Gunwharf Quays.
The proposed closure of M&S Portsmouth, which has been there for over 100 years, is part of M&S’s five-year UK store estate programme announced in November after a full review of its UK store portfolio. The plans hope to improve the M&S store estate to better meet customer needs and include opening 200 new food-only stores and selling clothing and home from 60 fewer locations.
In addition to Portsmouth, M&S has also proposed the closure of Monks Cross Simply Food, Worksop Simply Food, Warrington, Wokingham and Slough stores.
Steve Rowe, chief executive of Marks & Spencer, said: ‘M&S stores will always be an integral part of our customer offer, working seamlessly alongside our website, M&S.com, to deliver great products and service to our customers.
‘However, our customers’ shopping habits are changing. Picking up food for now or tonight rather than doing one big shop or browsing and shopping online and collecting in store are great examples of this and we are committed to adapting our business so that we stay in tune with our customers.
‘This means there will be more M&S colleagues working in an increased number of convenient locations, serving more customers. It also means that we will open new stores, some will reduce in size, some will move, some will close and others will convert to Food-only. Each proposal we make will be very carefully considered with our colleagues and customers firmly front of mind.
‘It is our intention that nobody leaves M&S and we will work as hard as possible to ensure that we can deliver against this promise.’
M&S currently has 959 UK stores – 304 full line stores, 615 food-only stores and 40 outlets.