MARKS AND SPENCER has announced plans to close its store in Mell Square, Solihull.
The town centre store will shut next year, as the Sears retail park store in Shirley is expanded.
A spokesperson for the clothing chain said: “As part of plans to reorganise our estate, we will be closing the store in Mell Square – we have informed colleagues who will all be moving to our expanded store in Sears Retail Park, Shirley.”
Andy Barber, M&S Head of Region for West Midlands, said: “Shopping habits are changing, so we’re reshaping our store estate to ensure it meets the needs of customers today – and those of tomorrow. As part of this transformation, we will be expanding our M&S Sears Retail Park store to offer customers a bigger and better food offer, a new clothing department and a large M&S Café. The new and improved store will be finished during summer 2021 and, in line with the expansion, our existing store on Mell Square in Solihull will close once the development is complete.
“We appreciate this will be disappointing news for some, but we believe this is the right decision to ensure a sustainable future in Solihull and the best possible offer for customers. All our Mell Square colleagues will move across to our expanded Sears Retail Park store when it opens and we will keep the community updated as the works progress.”
Melanie Palmer, Chief Executive of the Solihull Business Improvement District, said: “This is terribly sad news that one of the town’s favourite high street brands has decided to leave in order to expand its presence at a retail park.
“Marks and Spencer’s loyal regular visitors will be very disappointed to hear the news but may also use this opportunity to explore the alternative food, clothing, homeware and café options on offer within the safe environment of Solihull town centre.
“We have to remember that the face of retail is changing and the transformation and investment steps that are already in place for the town centre will continue to attract existing visitors and a wider reach to include a new audience. Solihull will continue to be ahead of the curve as a vibrant heart of the region.”
One regular shopper, Susan Evans, from Chelmsley Wood, said: “With Solihull losing its M&S its losing its big shop. A lot of elderly and disabled people in the area find it ideal as all the store is on a flat surface.
“I go there often, as does my mom, we always go in for our Christmas shopping and the cafe is great. The book club meets there, the elderly meet there – where else can they go that’s like that? The M&S has disabled toilets right by the cafe and there will be a lot of people who won’t want to go to Shirley as the car park is not undercover.
“You end up getting really wet in bad weather when elderly or disabled trying to get out of the car. The Mell Square car park is a big help for shopping at Marks and Spencer.”