'Leicester, we used to be lovely,' Fury from shoppers as Marks and Spencer announce store closure

Marks and Spencer has announced the closure of its Gallowtree Gate store in Leicester. Credit: BPM

Marks and Spencer has sparked fury amongst shoppers after announcing the closure of its Gallowtree Gate store in Leicester.

The retail giant said decision is because of a shift in shopping habits and a move towards focussing on stores that optimise customer experience.

In response to the impending closure, Marks and Spencer said they are communicating with their employees.

The company said it aims to mitigate the impact on staff by offering reassignment to other roles within the business wherever possible.

Reacting to ITV News Central, shoppers in Leicester said: "I feel really, really upset and concerned. A lot of people I know feel exactly the same way."

Another added: "Oh, when I heard this, I was really shocked because every day when I finish work, I just come in, and whatever I want, I buy, because it's quality food. I'm really sad if it is closing down."

A third shopper said: "Well I just think it's terrible. Everything's closing. Leicester, we used to be lovely. I don't know what's happened. I really don't I really don't. But this is sad."

While another said it had been his favourite place to shop in the city: "This is a joke. I don't know. I don't know anything more. I'm nearly 45 years living here. I'm always shopping here, it's my favourite store."

M&S announces its store in Leicester is to close. Credit: PA Images

Calum Telford, M&S regional manager, said: “Shopping habits are changing and our store rotation strategy is all about making sure we have the right stores with the right space to deliver a brilliant shopping experience for our customers.

"That means opening stores, investing in stores but also sadly closing others. As part of this transformation, we have made the tough decision to propose to close our Gallowtree Gate store in Leicester. We would like to thank all our customers who have shopped at the store over the years."Our priority now is talking to our colleagues about what this means for them and should the proposals go ahead, we will offer them alternative roles with M&S wherever possible.

"We are proud to have a strong footprint across the East Midlands and since 2020, have invested over £20million in our stores across the region. Our distribution centre is based at Castle Donington, employing over 1,700 people, and in which we have made a multi-million-pound investment over the past six years.

"In addition, this year we are also investing in our Fosse Park store in Leicestershire.”

Leicester city centre director, Sarah Harrison, said: “It’s disappointing that M&S is closing its city centre store, but not surprising given they have plans to close almost 70 stores and refocus their business.

“They’ve been very open with us about their changing business model. The fact that the store on Gallowtree Gate, which dates back to 1931, needs millions of pounds of investment to make it fit for the future has no doubt influenced their decision.

“Factors like the move to online shopping, and the rising cost of living, mean that retailers need to adapt their offer, and city centres must change with them – which is why the city council has invested so heavily in improvements to Leicester’s.

“Looking ahead, planned investment in the city’s railway station, sporting venues, cultural sites and attractions, including our new Roman Museum at Jewry Wall, will ensure that Leicester remains an exciting destination for visitors.”

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