Marks and Spencer set to close one of its Suffolk stores

Marks and Spencer Felixstowe

Marks and Spencer Felixstowe - Credit: Archant

M&S has today announced that it is consulting with 35 members of staff on the proposed closure of its Felixstowe town centre store.

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

Today M&S has announced that it is proposing to close 16 stores nationwide, including its 5,726sqft store on Hamilton Road in Felixstowe, and one store that it will close and relocate to a Foodhall.

Calum Telford, M&S head of region for East Anglia, described proposals to close M&S Felixstowe as “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,” he said.

“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&”

The empty building in Clacton town centre that until recently was home to Marks & Spencers

The empty building in Clacton town centre that until recently was home to Marks & Spencers - Credit: Archant

MORE: As one flagship Marks and Spencer store moves out, what next for the empty town centre retail space?

Nearby stores to M&S Felixstowe include M&S Martlesham Heath Ipswich Foodhall (10.1 miles away), M&S Ipswich (13 miles away), M&S Colchester (27.6 miles away).

Marks and Spencer closed its store in Newmarket in August, and its store on Pier Avenue in Clacton Town Centre in November, and that premises is still currently vacant. It also opened up a new food hall in Walton on the Naze.

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Like many bricks & mortar traders, M&S had a disappointing Christmas period. Like-for-like clothing and home sales dropped 2.4% over the 13 weeks to December 29, while comparable food sales fell 2.1%.

M&S faces greater competition from online retailers such as Boo Hoo, the owner of Nasty Gal and Pretty Little Thing, which saw revenue rise 44% to £328.2m in the four months to 31 December.

In November 2016 M&S announced a five-year UK store estate programme to improve the quality of its Clothing & Home space for customers.

Since then a number of announcements have been made. This has included closing 30 stores, three of which were relocations. In May 2018 M&S announced that it will continue to accelerate its space plan, after seeing better than expected numbers of customers moving to shop at other nearby M&S locations and its target to have one-third of sales online by 2022.

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