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19 September, 2019

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M&S Barons Quay set for closure

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Marks & Spencer has today announced that it is consulting with 60 colleagues on the proposed closure of its Barons Quay store in Northwich.

The proposed closure is part of M&S’s programme to reshape its UK store estate.

In all, 17 stores look set to close nationwide – affecting 1,000 employees.

M&S head of region, Pete Swallow said: “Proposing to close our Northwich store has been a difficult decision to make.

“Over the coming weeks we’ll be talking to each colleague individually as we go through the consultation process.”

He added: “We are committed to our loyal customers and, if the proposal goes ahead, will continue to serve them at our Foodhalls in Stockton Heath, Hale and Altrincham, as well as our full line stores at Cheshire Oaks and Gemini Retail Park.”

It’s a hammer blow for the Barons Quay development, which has struggled to attract tenants since it first opened in 2016.

It’s particularly galling given the progress made in recent months – with both Sports Direct and The Entertainer joining the shopping centre.

Patisserie Valerie was also looking to open a shop at Barons Quay, but shortly after the announcement the firm’s financial difficulties were revealed which cast doubt on the move.

Cheshire West and Chester Council is projected to spend at least £71m on the 225,000 sq ft development.

Following today’s announcement, CWAC’s cabinet member for economic development and infrastructure Cllr Brian Clarke said: “It is deeply disappointing news.

“Our immediate concerns are with staff that will be affected, and the council will be doing everything it can to offer support to those who may be faced with redundancy.

“We recognise that the current retail environment for town centre high streets remains difficult.

“However, the news is particularly disappointing as other stores that have opened recently in Northwich are trading well, and in the case of The Entertainer toy store, significantly outperforming targets.

“We are seeking an urgent meeting with senior representatives from M&S to try to establish whether there is any possibility that by working together we can retain the presence of this important retailer in the town.”

 

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