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East Anglia Future 50

Protests against closure of M&S store continue to grow

PUBLISHED: 16:21 23 January 2019 | UPDATED: 10:45 24 January 2019

Campaigners collecting signatures outside Felixstowe M&S Picture: FELIXSTOWE LABOUR PARTY

Campaigners collecting signatures outside Felixstowe M&S Picture: FELIXSTOWE LABOUR PARTY

Archant

More than 3,500 people have signed petitions urging M&S bosses to keep their Felixstowe store open.

The protest is continuing to grow with residents and visitors to the resort being urged to write directly to the company’s chief executive Steve Rowe and chairman Archie Norman.

Felixstowe Labour party branch officer Michael Sharman collected nearly 700 signatures on cards against closure in just two hours.

Mr Sharman, a former councillor and a campaigning veteran, said: “I have never had a response like it – I have never seen people so angry.

“The decision to close the Felixstowe store has been a disaster for M&S public relations and people were clamouring to sign the cards against the proposal. Loyal M&S customers demanded cards to sign.

“M&S has profited for decades from a very successful store with a strong loyal customer base of residents and visitors and they are being left in the lurch.”

A Felixstowe Labour statement said: “If the declared Marks and Spencer plan is radically to reshape its clothing and home range, then this hardly affects Felixstowe where there is limited clothing space and no home range but a very popular and busy food hall. In fact, the suggestion from many people is to remove almost all of the clothing and turn it into a Food Hall.

“Given the profile of the Felixstowe population, a significant proportion of M&S customers are elderly with many relying upon regular visits to the food hall for their provisions.

“These loyal customers may very well not have the opportunity, ability or inclination to travel some distance to the M&S Food Hall at Martlesham Heath.”

More than 2,700 people have also signed an online petition. People can sign a petition card tomorrow and Saturday from 10am to noon outside the Hamilton Road store.

Calum Telford, M&S head of region for East Anglia, said: “Proposing to close M&S Felixstowe is a very difficult decision. At this time our colleagues are our first priority and we’ll be talking to each individually about what this means for them and making sure they’re fully supported. We remain committed to serving local customers and, if the proposal goes ahead, they will be able to continue to shop for M&S Clothing & Home products from our Ipswich store and on M&S.com.”

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