Marks and Spencer has announced it will delay closing its Accrington store.
The high street giant made the shock announcement in December that its Broadway shop would be closing after 53 years of trading.
M&S had originally intended the store to close by May, however the decision has been made to push its closure back until late summer to tie in with the opening of the M&S Simply Food Rawtenstall store.
An M&S spokesperson said: “The M&S Accrington store will be closing in late summer to coincide with the opening of the new Foodhall at Rawtenstall.”
The final date for the store closure is still to be confirmed.
Campaigners have claimed the loss of M&S from Accrington would be devastating and could lead to the ‘slow death’ of the town centre.
Jim Saron, Vice President of Hyndburn Chamber of Trade, said: “It’s good news and bad news really, we’ll have the store a bit longer but it is just delaying the Sword of Damocles. The closure of M&S will be a big loss to the town centre.”
Eunice Duckworth, 78, petitioned outside the flagship town centre store on Broadway in January and collected more than 2,000 signatures in opposition to the closure. A separate petition also received 1,000 signatures.
Eunice said: “I’ve received a letter from M&S saying that the Accrington store needs substantial modernisation and that is why they have decided to move.
“But they are having to do up a store over in Rawtenstall so why not here.
“It’s going to happen, but I will be very glad when they have to come back to Accrington.”
Eunice, who was petitioning with her daughter Corby Hacker, said she has concerns for elderly people who regularly use the shop for food shopping and may struggle to reach other supermarkets, including the new store set to open in Rawtenstall.
She said: “This will impact on older people, you cannot get up there on public transport it is too difficult. You’ve also got to think of the people working there, will they want to travel all the way to Rawtenstall on public transport if they are working part time.”
The 28 staff working in the Accrington store have been told they will be offered roles at the Rawtenstall store and at other existing stores.