M&S reaction: Leamington shopping centre management 'confident' of finding a replacement for M&S
The major retailer will close its site inside the Royal Priors, as it plans to open a larger store on the edge of Leamington and Warwick
The management of the Royal Priors in Leamington town centre have said they are confident they can find a replacement for the M&S store inside the shopping centre, which is due to be closed.
Yesterday (Tuesday, May 4), The Courier revealed that as a result of it being given planning permission to open a 'full line store' and a Foodhall at the Leamington Shopping Park, M&S will close its site, which is spread across two parts of the lower and upper mall at the Royal Priors.The 'full line' store would open at the site of the former Debenhams store and the M&S Foodhall with a café and two smaller non-food shops will open at the vacant site between Debenhams and New Look.
As a result of these moves and openings, M&S will also be closing its Simply Food store at Westgate House in Warwick.
Warwick and Leamington MP Matt Western said the closures "would be a severe blow to the vitality of the town centres" and has started a petition to try to prevent the move.But the Royal Priors management do not appear to be so concerned about the closure at the shopping centre.
A spokesman for the Royal Priors said: "We have been made aware of Marks and Spencer’s intention to vacate its Royal Priors store and we will be marketing the unit to prospective tenants as a result.
"Leamington Spa is a very attractive town centre and a very vibrant shopping and leisure destination so we are confident that a suitable alternative occupier will be found."
Plans have been submitted by the Royal Priors' landlord Coal Pension Properties Ltd, c/o LaSalle Investment Management to improve part of the Royal Priors at its entrance off Regent Street.
The spokesman for the centre added: "The planning application that we have made will bring upgrades to the Satchwell Walk façade to improve access and natural light to that part of Royal Priors and will therefore assist with the marketing process.’’
While the loss of a flagship shop like M&S could be a blow to Leamington town centre the addition of larger M&S stores to the shopping park could be viewed as a positive for Leamington and Warwick residents and shoppers living outside of the town.
Craig Burton, regional manager for M&S, said: "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 and Warwick."
"We will keep the community updated as the works progress.
“The investment in the town is part of the wider reshaping of our store estate to make sure it’s fit for the future, meeting the needs of customers today – and those of tomorrow.”
However, Matt Western, MP for Warwick and Leamington, says the move will be detrimental for the town centres of both towns.
Click here to read his views.