M&S is closing its Bristol Broadmead store after nearly seven decades, the retailer has announced.
The high street chain has had a presence in the city’s shopping quarter since 1952, selling homewares, clothing and food.
It is understood the closure is part of a wider UK property reshape by the retailer, which has 17 other branches across the South West, including at Cribbs Causeway.
The decision to shut the Broadmead store is, in part, being driven by changing consumer habits in the retail industry, which has seen a major shift towards online shopping in recent years.
The store is earmarked for closure in January, although no final date has yet been given for when the shop will shut.
M&S is currently consulting with 89 employees, although it is understood this figure does not equate to redundancies. BusinessLive has learnt that M&S will be working with staff, who are at risk, to try to redeploy them to other stores.
M&S regional manager John Dorrington said: “Shopping habits are changing, so we’re rotating our store estate to make sure we have the right stores to offer our customers a brilliant shopping experience.
“As part of this transformation, we have today announced to colleagues our proposal to close our M&S Bristol store at 78 Broadmead in January 2022.
“Our priority now is to talk to our colleagues about what this announcement means for them and wherever possible, offer them alternative roles with M&S.
“We appreciate that this will be disappointing news for some, and we would like to thank all our customers who have shopped with us in the store. We will be working hard to keep serving them in our 17 stores across the southwest including Cribbs Causeway and Longwell Green.”
It is understood that M&S will continue to invest in its Cribbs Causeway store, which is regularly used as a test site to trial new digital services, such as contactless, click and collect, and returns, before rolling them out across the UK.
As BusinessLive understands, M&S has a financial interest in the Broadmead building – although it does not own the property outright – and will be working with Bristol City Council on plans for its future redevelopment.
West of England metro mayor Dan Norris said: “For most of us, Marks and Spencer in Broadmead has been a Bristol fixture all of our lives.
“This is a real blow to a shopping centre that is at the heart of the community, and many people across the city and beyond will feel a sense of loss at this genuinely sad news.
“Importantly, I hope and expect Marks and Spencer will be working with their staff and their trade unions to support all workers who are affected.”
In May, M&S announced proposals to shut another 30 shops over the next decade as part of turnaround plans.
It followed an announcement last year, confirming 7,000 jobs would be cut across stores and management in 2020 – although about a tenth of jobs lost were voluntary redundancy and early retirement.
The company made a pre-tax loss of £201.2m for the financial year ending March 27 – down from a £67.2m profit the previous year.
In July, M&S announced its store at Capital Shopping Park in Cardiff was closing, while in recent weeks, it has confirmed 11 franchise stores in France, operated in partnership with SFH, would be shutting as a result of Brexit.
M&S said supply chain complexities following the UK’s exit from the European Union were making it “near impossible” for the business to serve fresh and chilled products to customers in France.
The news of the proposed Broadmead closure comes as many UK high street retailers continue to struggle to survive amid tough trading conditions.
Last year saw dozens of big-name brands falling into administration, including Debenhams, Arcadia Group and Peacocks.
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