Marks and Spencer Plans to Close Crawley Store

M&S in Crawley

Marks & Spencer has announced proposals to close its Crawley store.

The news was described as ‘a real blow for the town centre’ by Michael Jones, leader of Crawley Borough Council.

The store, in Queensway, has been part of the town centre for decades but is one of more than 100 expected to close their doors over the next few years.

Graham Bennett, regional manager, said: “Shopping habits are changing, so we’re rotating our store estate to make sure we have the right stores with the right space to offer customers a brilliant shopping experience.

“As part of this transformation, last week we announced our proposal to close the M&S Crawley store.

“Our priority now is to talk to our colleagues about what this announcement means for them.”

Mr Bennett said that, should the proposed closure go ahead, staff would be offered alternative roles ‘wherever possible’.

The company will also work with the council ‘to ensure the site can be brought back into use as soon as possible’.

Mr Jones said: “This is awful news for M&S staff, many of whom have worked in the store for a very long time.

“We will do all we can to help affected staff through our Employ Crawley Team, which provides free employment support and advice.

 “It’s a real blow for the town centre.

“M&S has been a fixture on Queensway for decades so it will be sad to see it go.

“We will work with the building owner to see what plans there are for this major site.”

Marks & Spencer has invested more than £12.5m in stores across the south-east and Mr Bennett said the company was ‘open to the idea of investing in a new, accessible M&S store in Crawley in the future’.

But it would have to be the ‘right type of site with car parking for our customers’.

Mr Jones said he was ‘heartened’ to hear this, adding: “I sincerely hope the company is able to find a suitable location for a new store in the future.” 

While M&S is the latest in a string of big-name stores to close, Mr Jones said retail in the town centre was ‘still relatively robust’.

The vacancy rate for empty units stands at 11.3 per cent – down from 12.4 per cent 12 months ago, and lower than the national average of 14 per cent.

He said: “Crawley’s economy has bounced back significantly since the dark days of the pandemic.

“Working together, the council and local stakeholders have secured more than £30m to invest in the town centre in the coming years.”

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