Southsea high street to take a hit with loss of big-name store

The Marks & Spencer store in Commercial Road, Portsmouth     ''Picture: Sarah Standing (170507-178)
The Marks & Spencer store in Commercial Road, Portsmouth ''Picture: Sarah Standing (170507-178)
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IT’S ANOTHER blow for a high street, and this time Palmerston Road, Southsea, is taking the hit.

Fashion and home company Laura Ashley has announced it will close its Southsea store in July as part of the company’s realignment programme.

It came as M&S confirmed it would close its Commercial Road store in Portsmouth early next year.

Both M&S and Laura Ashley have referred customers to their other well-used stores in Solent Retail Park, Havant.

Portsmouth City councillor Luke Stubbs, who lives in Southsea, said: ‘This is clearly a blow for Palmerston Road – I hope the owners of the building can find new tenants for the space.

‘Spending is up in retail parks and changes in consumer behaviour are clearly having an impact both here and nationally.

‘The problem with re-directing shoppers to the Laura Ashley Havant store instead, is that elderly people or those without cars can’t or will find it difficult to make the journey – and just won’t shop with the brand at all.

‘I hope Palmerston Road can maintain its vibrancy because it’s done well so far.’

The Southsea store will close on Monday, July 3.

A spokesperson for the company commented: ‘We’re currently in a period of consultation with the Southsea team and aim to redeploy staff where possible.

‘We look forward to welcoming new and existing customers to our nearby store in Havant, which showcases our home and fashion collections.’

In April The News reported the M&S Portsmouth closure was being considered, a decision which the supermarket giant has now confirmed after a full review of its UK store portfolio.

The move, which there is not yet a date for, is set to be made in line with the new Foodhall opening at Ocean Retail Park, Burrfields Road.

Mavis Wilkinson, 84, shops at M&S Portsmouth.

She said: ‘I’m really against the closure of this store because I shop in it every week.

‘Even if an M&S Foodhall opens at Ocean Retail Park I’d have to catch a bus or a taxi to get there, and take my food back home.’

A 48-year-old resident from Waterlooville who frequently visits Commercial Road, added: ‘A lot of shops are shutting down and it’s sad really,.

‘If it keeps happening nobody will want to visit Commercial Road.’