Accrington shoppers could enjoy one last Christmas with Marks and Spencer, with the store set to stay open until 2016.
Last week the Observer revealed that bosses at the retail giant still have no confirmed date for the closure of the Broadway store, which had originally been scheduled for April this year and then ‘late summer’.
We can now confirm that the closure has now been put on hold due to delays in fitting out a new M&S Simply Food store at the New Hall Hey business park in Rawtenstall, which is due to see a TK Maxx and Pets at Home open, among other traders.
A spokesman for Marks and Spencer said: “Our plans for the closure at Accrington and opening at Rawtenstall do remain the same.
“The closure of the Accrington store will coincide with the opening of the new Rawtenstall store. We are not going to close the Accrington store until the Rawtenstall store is ready. Plans remain the same for the Accrington store. It will still close.”
Rossendale council leader Alyson Barnes, who is also chairman of RTB Partnership behind the New Hall Hey development, has now admitted that shoppers will not see the New Hall Hey Marks and Spencer open this side of Christmas.
Coun Barnes told the Observer: “The fit out for Pets at Home is due to begin on September 7 and TK Maxx a short time later.
“It’s envisaged that they will be open and trading for Christmas. The fit out for Marks and Spencer will be starting around the same time, but the opening is likely to be postponed to early in the new year.”
The 28 staff working in the Accrington store were told they would be offered roles at other stores, including in Rawtenstall. The retailer stunned shoppers just a few days after last Christmas by announcing plans to quit Accrington town centre after more than half a century of trading.
Campaigners collected over 3,000 signatures against the closure and claimed it could lead to the ‘slow death’ of the town centre.
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