Campaign to Save M&S Store is Lost

A CAMPAIGN to try to save a store was lost today when Marks & Spencer announced it was closing its Simply Food business on Central Approach in Letchworth GC, putting 20 jobs at risk. Three weeks ago, when it was first announced that the store was under th

A CAMPAIGN to try to save a store was lost today when Marks & Spencer announced it was closing its Simply Food business on Central Approach in Letchworth GC, putting 20 jobs at risk.

Three weeks ago, when it was first announced that the store was under threat, a petition to save it gathered more than 1,000 signatures in a matter of days.

North East Herts MP Oliver Heald even made an appeal to M&S boss Sir Stuart Rose to give the store a reprieve.

But today M&S said in a statement: "Following a full and thorough consultation process, it has reached an agreement with its employee representative group to progress with the proposed closure of the Letchworth Simply Food store.

"M&S is now entering into individual consultation with staff at the store to discuss the implications of this decision for them personally and to explore redeployment opportunities. Where redeployment is not available, employees will be made redundant and offered appropriate help from M&S to find alternative employment in the local area."

Steve Rowe, M&S director of retail, said: "We have consulted fully with staff at the Letchworth Simply Food store, listening carefully to both their views and suggestions, as well as those of the local community.

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"All issues raised throughout the process were fully considered, but as no proposed alternatives to the store closure have been found to be commercially viable, it was necessary to make this difficult decision.

"I would like to thank the team at Letchworth Simply Food for the professional way in which they have handled this process and for their patience as we enter into individual consultation. We will explore all possible redeployment opportunities and remain committed to avoiding redundancies wherever possible.

"We hope that our valued customers will continue to shop with M&S at one of our alternative local stores, such as Hitchin and Stevenage, which offer a wide variety of quality M&S products."

The Letchworth Simply Food store's last trading day will be March 12. During the last week of trading the store will continue to sell all major product lines, though in order to limit wastage, stock will be wound down gradually, particularly on chilled lines.

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