Marks and Spencer Stockport to close in April plus news that global toy retailer Toys R Us and electronic giant Maplin have both called in administrators.
Toys R Us announced in December that it was planning to close 26 of its stores nationwide in 2018 and, although it included 2 stores in Greater Manchester at Bolton and Manchester Central Retail Park, it was hoped that Stockport’s Peel Centre outlet would survive closure.
Administrators of Maplin from PwC blamed the collapse of Maplin on ‘the challenging conditions in the UK retail sector’ and stated that a slowdown in consumer spending along with a weakened pound making imports more expensive had hit the retailer hard.
Our initial focus as administrators will be to engage with parties who may be interested in acquiring all or part of the company. We will continue to trade the business as normal whilst a buyer is sought.
“Staff have been paid their February wages and will continue to be paid for future work while the company is in administration.”
Marks and Spencer is going ahead with the closure of two stores in Greater Manchester as part of its wider plan to shut 14 outlets across the UK announced earlier this month. Its stores in Stockport and Denton will close on April 21, the company said yesterday, on Tuesday February 27.
100 employees at the Marks and Spencer Stockport store are being offered alternative roles at M&S’s other outlets.
Helen White, co-founder of Marketing Stockport feared that, despite intervention from the council, the closure of M&S in Merseyway was somehow imminent:
When Marks and Spencer announced that the future of their Stockport store was being considered, as much as everyone hoped it would be given a reprieve, closure somehow seemed inevitable.
“This is no fault of Stockport or the store itself, but rather a sign of modern times and an indication as to how shopping habits have changed, especially over the past 10 years. High Streets have to compete with many alternatives that in days gone by were not an option. Out of town stores, such as at Handforth Dean, are almost a victim of a company’s own success as smaller branches lose out and, as just about everyone has a car these days, are a more convenient way to shop. While online shopping has opened up huge opportunities in the distribution sector – think Amazon – it has virtually wiped out a generation of town centre shoppers.”
Marks and Spencer head of region for Manchester Julie Ridley said:
“Proposing to close the Stockport and Denton stores was a difficult but necessary decision and over the past few weeks we’ve been consulting with our colleagues about what is right for them.
“Following this rigorous process, the decision has been made to close the stores on 21st April. We’d like to thank our customers at the stores for the feedback they’ve given us over the last few weeks. We hope to see lots of the customers continuing to shop at our other stores in the area as well as on M&S.com.”
Stockport Council issued a statement following yesterday’s announcement:
Stockport Council is extremely disappointed to learn that despite having worked hard with Marks & Spencer to investigate a number of options to keep their store in Stockport open, they have resolved to proceed with the planned closure.
This decision is a result of the company’s changing corporate priorities and a strategy to reduce floor space nationally.
Stockport remains the most popular town centre within South Manchester, attracting over 15 million visitors each year and this news will not slow down the transformation that is underway, giving people even more reasons to visit and invest in Stockport. Planned investments include the redevelopment of Merseyway, that will see it rejuvenated it into a popular, modern and inviting shopping centre.
Our priority is now to support staff that may be affected by this news doing all we can to help them, whilst also working with Marks & Spencer to investigate their plans for their building which is not currently within the Council’s ownership.
Councillor Kate Butler, Stockport Council’s Cabinet Member for Economy and Regeneration said:
“We are very disappointed that despite having worked with Marks & Spencer on a number of options to keep their store open, they have decided to go ahead with the closure of their Stockport store. We will now continue to work with them to ensure all affected staff are supported and to learn more about their plans for their building.”