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M&S to shut popular high street branch after 70 years and two more could follow

The retailer said changing shopping habits are to blame for the closure, affecting 79 staff, but that it hopes affected shoppers can still access an M&S near them

The store has been a Bristol fixture for three generations

Marks & Spencer (M&S) is closing its store in Bristol Broadmead after nearly seven decades, the retailer has announced.

It could also close branches in Maidstone and Poole, according to chief operating officer Stuart Machin.

The high street chain has been based in the centre of Bristol since 1952, selling homewares, clothing and food.

The M&S Broadmead store is set to shut in January, but no exact date has been set.

The retailer is in consultations with 89 staff, and is trying to move as many as possible to other M&S outlets, according to the Bristol Post.

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.

Are you a worker affected by the closure? Get in touch: [email protected]

“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.



The Broadmead store being built in 1954
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Image:

Local World)




“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. “

M&S could also shut its Maidstone and Poole stores, according to Machin.

In a blog published yesterday, Machin said: “To deliver a fit for the future estate, we have to make difficult but necessary decisions.

“This week, we have proposed closures of older stores in Maidstone, Bristol and Poole.

“In each of these markets, we believe we are already well set up to serve customers thanks to our ongoing investment , whether that is at the Maidstone Eclipse Retail Store, which opened less than two years ago or through Cribbs Causeway in Bristol.”



M&S hopes shoppers in the south west can use other nearby stores instead of Broadmead
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Image:

(C) James Beck 2016)




Last August M&S announced plans to cut around 7,000 jobs across stores, management and its support centre.

The retail giant had a workforce of more than 80,000 employees at the time.

The shift is also partly down to an uptake in digital shopping during the coronavirus lockdown.

Marks & Spencer is already axing 950 management and head office roles as coronavirus accelerates an ongoing shake-up.

The announcement was made in July last year, as it warned it was preparing for the “aftershock” of coronavirus, which has “changed shopping habits forever”.

The transformation plan, called Never the Same Again, is being stepped up after the disruption of lockdown when the M&S food arm stayed open but its clothing arm was hit hard.





In September the retailer said it would close 11 stores in France due to fresh and chilled food supply issues following Brexit.

The UK chain said all 11 franchise stores operated with partner SFH in France would shut “over the coming months”.

M&S said supply chain problems since Brexit had made it “near impossible” to maintain standards of food supply.

Many other department stores struggled during the pandemic, including Debenhams, which shut its last physical stores in May this year.





New owner Boohoo then made Debenhams online-only, but is now hiring beauty assistants for a ‘Debenhams Beauty’ store in Manchester – suggesting the brand could soon return to the high street.

However, the new physical store could be the only one of its kind.

Back in June The Mirror reported that some beauty brands had refused to supply products to Debenhams unless it had a physical store presence.

Boohoo Group chief executive John Lyttle said it would open one store outside of London to fix this.


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