Kettering's M&S set to close
Kettering's Marks & Spencer store is one of 14 in the country which is set to close.
The retail giant is consulting with 58 colleagues on a proposal to close the High Street branch as part of a programme to reshape its UK store estate.
M&S, which only opened a bakery in the store two years ago, said it was a tough decision.
Zoe Gibbard, head of region for East Midlands South at M&S, said: “Proposing the closure of our Kettering store has been a difficult decision to make.
“Over the coming weeks we’ll be talking to each colleague individually as we go through the consultation process.
“We remain committed to serving our loyal customers from our two Simply Food stores located within 10 miles, as well as the recently opened Rushden Lakes store.
“Rushden Lakes is our flagship store for the region and offers customers a better M&S experience across clothing and food.”
M&S will now close over 100 stores in total by 2022, including 21 that have already closed and the 14 stores that are announced today as proposed for closure or set to close.
Those announced as ‘proposed for closure’ are: Darlington, East Kilbride, Falkirk, Kettering, Newmarket, New Mersey Speke, Northampton, Stockton and Walsall.
Those announced as closing are: Bayswater, Clacton, Fleetwood Outlet, Holloway Road and Newton Abbot Outlet.
Shoppers in Kettering town centre this lunchtime reacted with shock at the news.
David Richards, 63, said: “It’s a great shame to be honest but Kettering is dying.
“M&S was probably the biggest name left.”
Diane Tate, 44, said: “I don’t use it very often but I know a lot of people that do.
“It’s a shame it’s going.”
A Kettering Council spokesman said: “Whilst the council thanks M&S for its support of Kettering town centre over the years, we are very sad at the news of the proposed closure.
“We are subsequently having a dialogue with M&S to ensure that we understand the reason for the proposed closure and that the context of Kettering being a key part of the Government’s growth agenda, both housing and business, has been properly factored into this proposal.”
Sacha Berendji, retail, operations and property director at M&S, said: “Closing stores isn’t easy but it is vital for the future of M&S.
“Where we have closed stores, we are seeing an encouraging number of customers moving to nearby stores and enjoying shopping with us in a better environment which is why we’re continuing to transform our estate with pace.”
The impending closure would mean the nearest M&S stores to Kettering are at Rushden Lakes, Corby and Wellingborough.