Talks will begin to find a new supermarket to replace M&S in Warwick after bosses confirm its closure - despite a last minute attempt to stop the store leaving town
Warwick and Leamington MP said he tried to get M&S bosses to change their mind but attention must now turn to finding a replacement
The focus has switched on finding a replacement for the M&S store in Warwick after bosses confirmed that the business will be leaving the town, despite last minute talks to try to change their mind.
Warwick and Leamington MP Matt Western started a petition and held talks with the company bosses, reminding them that they had previously agreed to keep the store in the town centre - before announcing that it will close two months ago.
Back in May, we revealed the sad news that M&S was closing its Simply Food store in Warwick and its store in the Royal Priors Shopping Centre in Leamington. It will keep its foodhall in the Parade and also will concentrate on opening a new out-of-town store at the Leamington Shopping Park.
Following a meeting with M&S, Mr Western said: "I regret to announce that the firm’s chairman Archie Norman has now confirmed its closure.
"The decision will be extremely disappointing to many. It reneges on a previous agreement to retain the store despite the opening of the new M&S department store in Leamington retail park.
"It has been made despite massive public opposition and it deserts those in the town who relied on the supremely accessible store – especially the elderly and those with limited mobility.
"It will also be very damaging to our town centre, for now at least."
But he added: "I will be turning my attention to securing a viable replacement for M&S in the soon-to-be-vacant unit. I will be opening talks with various supermarket chains to take on the role of being the vital anchor store and the source of much of our town centre footfall."
Reflecting on the campaign to try to save the store, Mr Western added: "I was immensely proud of our campaign in which we gathered more than 4,000 signatures for our petition against the closure of the Warwick M&S Simply Food supermarket.
"I want to thank the volunteers, the shops owners and the residents who showed their support for our campaign. And I want to apologise that I wasn’t able do more to change the minds of M&S bosses.
"I am grateful however to M&S and Mr Norman for listening to our arguments and taking the time to meet with me and respond in an informed and considerate manner. Though we clearly have come to differing conclusions."