M&S to leave Newmarket in August
Marks and Spencer is set to disappear from Newmarket town centre where it has been trading for nearly 30 years.
Residents were shocked when The Guineas flagship store was named on Tuesday on the latest list of 14 set to be axed by the prominent High Street retailer. It is set to close in August.
Calum Telford, head of region for East Anglia at Marks and Spencer, said: "Proposing to close M&S Newmarket has been a difficult decision. Over the coming weeks we'll be speaking to all 38 staff about what is best for them. They will be fully supported throughout the consultation."
Newmarket pensioner Janet Wilson, 82, echoed the feelings of many of the store's regular customers.
"It's very sad news, particularly for the elderly who find it difficult to get to other food stores and shop there for their ready meals and other provisions like bread and milk," she said.
And she urged concerned shoppers to contact the company on 03330148555 (option 6) to protest at the closure. "People depend on the store and there is no other food store in the town centre," she said.
Newmarket town councillor Philippa Winter said she would be raising the issue with the authority to see if there was anything it could do to save the store, which was first opened in November 1989 by Bob Champion.
Racing enthusiast and Jockey Club member Sir David Sieff, a member of the founding family of Marks & Spencer, and a company director from 1972 to 1997, was said to have backed the store's move to the town which, at the time, would not have been considered large enough to have fulfilled the company's criteria for opening a branch.
Newmarket BID manager Graham Philpott said the closure news was 'disappointing' but added: "I am confident that Newmarket being a resilient shopping area will absorb it."
A spokesman for The Guineas said despite the proposed closure, the centre remained a draw for retailers. "Mountain Warehouse is currently fitting out a unit, a number of existing retailers are extending their leases and we are in advanced negotiations with a national retailer to occupy the M&S unit," she said.
Marks and Spencer still operates a food store at the BP Hyperion Garage in Newmarket's Bury Road .
Yesterday, the company announced a 62.1 per cent fall in its annual pre-tax profits.