STAY loyal to our residents, Warwick and Leamington MP Matt Western is urging Marks and Spencer bosses after they announced closures for branches in the two towns.
The retailer giant has announced plans to close the homeware store in Leamington’s Priors Shopping Centre, and Warwick’s ‘Simply Food’ store, with a bigger store in Leamington Shopping Park being built in their place.
But the MP has said residents had been loyal to the retailer and would not appreciate travelling out of town. He has launched a petition in a bid to keep the smaller branches open.
He said: “The potential loss of the M&S stores in Leamington’s Royal Priors shopping centre and in Warwick would be a severe blow to the vitality of our town centres.
“Both are always full of customers, and residents will not appreciate having to travel out of town to get shopping. The strength of the stores were their supremely convenient positioning in our town centres.
“I have written today to M&S bosses to hear the rationale for the closures, requesting a meeting to discuss the situation and to put residents’ feelings across.
“The loss of these important anchor stores could lead to yet more shop closures in our town centres if we do not fight for them to be retained. I will be launching a petition on my website where residents can sign up to save our M&S.
“Residents have been loyal to M&S for many years and now it is time for the company to be loyal to us.”
Announcing the move, M&S regional manager Craig Burton said the larger store would offer locals a much bigger range including a foodhall to be finished in summer, followed by a clothing and home department in the autumn.
He added: “In line with the expansion, our existing Leamington Royal Priors clothing and home store and Warwick Simply Food store will close once the development is completed with colleagues moving to work in our new store. We appreciate this may be disappointing news for some, but we believe this is the right decision to ensure we can deliver the very best M&S offer for customers in Leamington Spa and Warwick. We will keep the community updated as the works progress.
“The investment in the town is part of the wider reshaping our store estate to make sure it’s fit for the future, meeting the needs of customers today – and those of tomorrow.”
Plans for the larger store were granted in 2019 following an appeal by the developer after Warwick District Council initially refused.