Halifax's Marks and Spencer saved from axe as retail giant announces closures

marks and Spencer store in Halifax
marks and Spencer store in Halifax

The Halifax Marks and Spencer store will remain open after the retail giant earmarked 17 stores for closure and more than 1,000 jobs nationally at risk.

The high street chain’s closure programme impacts on more than 100 stores as part of a turnaround plan.

In Yorkshire, stores in Hull, Huddersfield and Rotherham are at risk of being mothballed, joining stores in Bridlington and Keighley which have already been shuttered.

Also impacted are shops in Ashford, Barrow, Bedford, Boston, Buxton, Cwmbran, Deal, Felixstowe, Junction One Antrim Outlet, Luton Arndale, Newark, Northwich, Sutton Coldfield and Weston Super Mare.

Their closure will impact 1,045 staff. To date, 1,891 workers have been impacted by the closures but the company said 1,591 of them - more than 80 per cent - had been been redeployed to new roles.

There was widespread concern expressed in the latest towns and cities impacted by the closure programme, many of whom have seen other large-scale retail operations abandon their high streets.

The closure in Huddersfield is understood to affect more than 70 jobs and leaves residents facing a nine mile journey to their nearest full M&S store.

Paula Varley, M&S Head of Region for South Yorkshire and East Midlands, said: “Proposing to close M&S Huddersfield has been a difficult decision and we will be fully supporting our colleagues during this process. Over the coming weeks we will be speaking to everyone individually about what is right for them.

“We remain committed to serving the community from Halifax and our Huddersfield Simply Food store at Gallagher Retail Park. Alongside our food offering, customers visiting these locations will be able to shop for Clothing & Home in store or via our Click & Collect service.”

Sacha Berendji, property director at Marks & Spencer, said: “We’re continuing to transform M&S with pace and as part of this we are making good progress with our plans to close over 100 stores - radically reshaping our store estate to become more relevant for our customers.

“Proposing to close stores is never easy, for our colleagues, customers or the local community, but it is vital for the future of M&S.

“Where we have closed stores, we are continuing to see an encouraging number of customers choosing other nearby locations and shopping on M&S.com.”

Gary Carter, GMB National Officer, said: “2019 has started exactly where we left off last year; with more retail jobs under threat.

“Employees across the sector will be very worried about their job security and wondering which retailer will be next to shed jobs or close down.

“The CMA decision on ASDA/Sainsbury’s merger is imminent and this could result in the sell-off of stores. But will buyers be found? How many jobs will go?

“This Government has done nothing to help retailers and the low-paid, hard-working employees who are at the sharp end.”