by mikebell on 18 January, 2019
Marks & Spencer (M&S) has announced today (Tuesday) it is set to close its Weston-super-Mare High Street store.
The retailer is consulting with its 74 colleagues on the proposed closure of the store, which is also accessible through the Sovereign Shopping Centre.
The closure is part of M&S’ plans to shut 16 of its stores across the UK.
Councillor Mike Bell said: “It is very sad news that the M&S Store in Weston town centre is to close. This will be a real blow to the town centre economy and to the dozens of people employed at the store.
“I’ll be urging M&S bosses and the council to do three key things:
1) See if there is any scope to maintain an M&S presence in the town centre, perhaps on a smaller footprint in the Sovereign Centre proper. The council could use its muscle as owner/manager of the Centre to offer incentives to keep M&S.
2) To urgently bring forward improvements at the Sovereign Centre and elsewhere in the town centre to attract new retailers into the town centre to try and reverse the trend of declining footfall and empty units.
3) To work with the Business Improvement District to urgently bring forward a business rates incentive scheme to encourage new businesses into the town centre, focussing on the core retail area.
“The M&S store is not formally part of the Sovereign Centre, so won’t have immediate implications in terms of rental income at the Council-owned centre, but the knock-on effects could be significant. This is exactly the risk that was taken in buying the Sovereign Centre and that many of us warned council leaders about.”