Closure of Banbury M&S town centre store 'will hit us hard' says Chamber of Commerce chairman

One of Banbury's business leaders says the proposed closure of the Bridge Street M&S store would 'hit us hard'.

Tuesday, 28th January 2020, 3:24 pm
Updated Tuesday, 28th January 2020, 5:40 pm
Chairman of the Banbury Chamber of Commerce, Neil Wild

But Neil Wild, Chairman of Banbury & District Chamber of Commerce and Director of Wild Property Consultancy said other towns are suffering the same problems.

"Clearly this is disappointing news for the town," he said.

"I would hope there is a way of retaining at least the food element of the M&S offer as that is a busy component of their business here. It’s important to appreciate that many towns are experiencing similar challenges.

M&S store in the Castle Quay which is soon to be closed

"Banbury continues to be home to a variety of quality retail and leisure businesses and we have a superior offer to any other town in the county. Nevertheless this closure will hit us hard.”

Meanwhile the regional manager for M&S says the closure proposals are a 'difficult but necessary' consequence of the change in shopping habits.

Steve Jackson, M&S Head of Region for Central, said: “Shopping habits are changing, so we’re reshaping our store estate so it is fit for the future, ensuring it meets the needs of customers today – and those of tomorrow. Proposing to close the M&S store in the Castle Quay shopping centre is a difficult but necessary part of these changes. Over the coming weeks our priority will be supporting the great team of colleagues at the store, as we discuss what’s best for them.

“We remain committed to local customers and, if the proposal goes ahead, we will continue to serve them from M&S.com and other stores in the area, including M&S Banbury Gateway Shopping Park, where customers can pick up a full range of M&S products.”

A spokesman for M&S said staff were being consulted on 'closure proposals'.