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M&S Update - Mayor Dave Presses the Case for the Bedford Town Centre Store to Remain Open

February 1, 2019 9:50 AM
Originally published by Dave Hodgson - Mayor of Bedford Borough

M&S in Bedford Town CentreMayor Dave Hodgson has again made the case for the retention of the Bedford town centre M&S store, this time in a phone call with a senior manager at M&S headquarters this week.

Commenting on his Facebook page after the discussion, Mayor Dave wrote:

"I made the case once again for the retention of the Bedford town centre M&S store yesterday, this time in a phone call with a senior manager at M&S HQ.

I laid out all of the many reasons why the Bedford town centre store should be retained and why I think M&S can have a successful future in Bedford if it remains open, including the way Bedford's footfall and empty shop rate is better than other towns', and how Riverside Bedford, Harpur Centre redevelopment and more show others are investing in the town in a big way.

Of course, the store has also extended its opening hours to 8am - 7pm, and has reported strong performance.

They explained the rationale for their proposal, talking about the rise in online shopping and their strategic decision to cut floorspace nationally to shift the balance more towards online trading. Essentially, they are cutting floor space and are targeting older, smaller stores in their 100-store closure programme, and that includes the Bedford store.

It's fantastic to see the way people have been rallying and speaking up for our M&S. I talked to M&S about the campaign, and they said that while their consultation is a legal obligation to consult staff, they will read/listen to submissions. The email to use is chairman@marks-and-spencer.com and the phone number is 03330148440.

This is obviously potentially a serious blow for the town centre, but I'll keep pressing our case and, whatever happens, with our clear vision for a town centre attractive as a destination not just for retail but also leisure, culture, food & drink etc, Bedford is better placed than most to face the huge challenges for all town centres."