M&S store clo­sure ‘would hit town hard’

Macclesfield Express - - SCHOOLS NEWS - STU­ART GREER

TOWN lead­ers and busi­ness own­ers fear the po­ten­tial clo­sure of Marks & Spencer would be ‘cat­a­strophic’ for the town cen­tre.

The firm is pre­par­ing to shut around 30 stores and down­size an­other 45 to ‘Sim­ply Food’ stores be­cause of fall­ing prof­its.

But M&S bosses won’t con­firm if the Mac­cles­field branch is at risk.

Since the shock an­nounce­ment two weeks ago, re­tail an­a­lysts from the Lo­cal Data Com­pany have spec­u­lated that the Mill Street store could among those most likely to close.

Bor­ough and town coun­cil­lor Bev­er­ley Doo­ley, who also runs a busi­ness in the town cen­tre, said she is ‘ deeply con­cerned’.

She said: “If you take away one of the big­gest shops on Mill Street it will have a di­rect im­pact on foot­fall, which will af­fect many busi­nesses.

“If you com­bine the po­ten­tial clo­sure of M&S and plans to re­de­velop Bar­racks Mill into re­tail units then that would cat­a­strophic for the high street.

“There are lots of ru­mours and spec­u­la­tion which is fu­elling un­cer­tainty.”

Fel­low bor­ough and town coun­cil­lor Janet Jack­son shares that worry, adding: “The town cen­tre needs high end in­de­pen­dents but also good qual­ity chains and M&S is top notch.

“When Next moved to Lyme Green it left a mas­sive hole in the of­fer­ing on the high street. We can’t have that hap­pen again. It is a very im­por­tant trader in the town.”

At the other end of town on Mar­ket Place, Mary from Mar­gin Mu­sic said the clo­sure of M&S ‘would make a tough sit­u­a­tion worse’.

She said: “It’s a real bat­tle for busi­nesses, espe­cially at this end of town, so to think one our big­gest stores could close would be dev­as­tat­ing. Foot­fall is mov­ing in the wrong di­rec­tion. This is more bad news.”

How­ever Keith Smith, from Mac­cles­field Civic So­ci­ety, is more op­ti­mistic. He said: “It’s re­ally too early to tell what will hap­pen, but I can’t see M&S just shut­ting down be­cause it owns the build­ing. Even if it does close, as a land­lord it will want a suc­cess­ful new ten­ant.”

Mac­cles­field’s Mill Street store of­fers food, cloth­ing – in­clud­ing baby wear and kidswear – beauty, cards and a cafe.

But it faces stiff com­pe­ti­tion from a much big­ger store at Hand­forth Dean, which also boasts a large home and gar­den depart­ment.

A spokesman for M&S said the com­pany is not in a po­si­tion to con­firm which of its 30 stores will close but said the clo­sures are part of a five year pro­gramme which in­cludes 200 new stores and boost­ing its Sim­ply Food chain.

Marks and Spencers in Mac­cles­field

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.