Community leaders to meet with Marks & Spencer’s senior management

Posted by Town Hall Staff 25 January 2019

Community leaders set to meet with senior management next week following correspondence with Marks & Spencer’s Chief Executive, Steve Rowe.

Further to the concern, sadness and anger expressed by Felixstowe residents and businesses at Marks & Spencer’s announcement that they propose closure of their store in the town, the Mayor of Felixstowe, Cllr Graham Newman wrote to the Chief Executive of M&S, Steve Rowe, setting out numerous reasons why the proposal should be reconsidered.

The following response was received from Mr. Rowe:

Thank you for your letter regarding the announcement of the proposed closure of our Felixstowe store. I fully understand your disappointment and concern about the impact on the town and on customers who shop there.

You will be aware of the rapidly changing retail landscape and the need to respond to those changes by delivering a better located, more productive and sustainable store estate which meets the needs of our customers in the future. Unfortunately, our store estate reflects past shopping habits not future ones and it is imperative that we put that right.

In terms of Felixstowe itself, I can assure you that the proposal was given considerable consideration by senior management personnel and followed very detailed evaluation of relevant commercial, financial and property factors relating to current performance and future potential. That evaluation also included the potential impact of developments in the town, such as housing, tourist/visitor attractions and town centre improvements. We are convinced it is the right decision for M&S.

Can I suggest that if you wish to discuss this in more detail, you contact my colleague, Tony Ginty, who will be happy to help. He is a member of the working group which is delivering the agreed transformation programme so is very familiar with the detail of the programme and the individual stores proposed for closure.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me”

Cllr Newman, who joined fellow Town Councillors and residents in Hamilton Road this morning to demonstrate support for the store, said “I would like to assure residents that I will pursue this dialogue with M&S and to that end a meeting has been set up with the company’s senior management at the Houses of Parliament next week where I will be joined by Suffolk Coastal District Council Deputy Leader Cllr Geoff Holdcroft and our Member of Parliament, Dr Thérèse Coffey”.