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Marks and Spencer, Newark, named among 17 closing stores

The existing Marks and Spencer store in Newark town centre is to close before the chain opens a new foodhall, it can be revealed.

The Stodman Street store, one of Newark's biggest retail outlets, has fallen victim to a national closure programme aimed at addressing sales, performance and profitability that will see more than 100 stores shut.

M&S declined to discuss whether the Newark store was profitable when quizzed by the Advertiser this week.

Marks and Spencer, Stodman Street, Newark. (6519448)
Marks and Spencer, Stodman Street, Newark. (6519448)

Leasing arrangements may also play a part.

M&S had initially promised Newark a new store relocated to The Maltings development off Northgate where it would have been the anchor of the scheme.

That new store would have offered the full gambit of M&S product ranges ­— clothing, home and food ­— but M&S then ditched those plans during turbulent times in a rich trading history in favour of just a foodhall and click-and-collect internet purchasing.

M&S said this week it has begun consulting with 41 staff at Newark over plans to shut the store this year.

A spokesman said that when similar closures had taken place, 80% of staff had stayed with the business and had accepted roles elsewhere.

The spokesman said it was expected that most of the Newark staff would stay on with M&S too.

No closure date has been given, with the consultation process with staff taking priority.

The spokesman said an announcement would be made in due course, but confirmed there would be no new store before the closure happened.

Paula Varley, M&S head of region for South Yorkshire and East Midlands, said “At M&S we’re adapting to changing customer habits and this means taking some tough decisions about where we open, close and relocate our stores.

"Proposing to close our clothing and food store in Newark this year has been an incredibly difficult decision.

"Over the coming weeks our Newark colleagues will be our first priority and we’ll be talking to everyone individually about what the consultation means for them.

“We remain committed to serving local customers from our stores in the region, including the proposed new foodhall in Newark, which we’ll update the community on as soon as we can.”

M&S signposted stores at M&S Lincoln, which is a main store, and 17.8 miles, or 27 mins away; Lincoln, Tritton Road, which is a foodhall and 13.7 miles, or 21 mins away; the Grantham foodhall, which is 18.5 miles, or 24 minutes away)

In November 2016 M&S announced a five-year UK store estate rationalisation programme.

Since then a number of announcements have been made.

This has included closing 30 stores so far, three of which were relocations.

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