Shocked reaction as Marks & Spencer announces plans to close Boston store

Boston's M&S store
Boston's M&S store

There has been shocked reaction after Marks & Spencer announced today that it is proposing to close its Boston store.

The retail giant revealed that is consulting with 49 staff on the proposed closure of the Market Place shop.

The announcement is a shock for the town, and will be seen as a real body blow.

One resident who contacted the Standard on hearing the news said: “I think it’s absolutely outrageous” and called for a petition to be launched to save it.

The woman, who didn’t want to be named, said: “We have got to fight because there’s only going to be Oldrids left in Boston now. That’s the only store we have got left and they don’t do food. They don’t do the things my family purchase from there.”

She said she was ‘devastated’ and ‘furious’ at M&S chiefs.

“They have no idea what it’s like for Boston people to get anywhere to do their shopping.”

Cllr Sue Ransome, chairman of the Boston Town Area Committee (BTAC), said: “It’s really sad news. M&S is a High Street stalwart.

“It does leave me concerned about the impact on the town centre.”

Cllr Colin Davie, executive member for economy and place for Lincolnshire County Council, said: "This is very disappointing news for Boston.

"Our sympathies are with the 49 staff at the store, and, as always, we will work with our colleagues at the job centre and the local council to support those affected.

"Marks and Spencer is a big presence in the town centre, and we'll play our part in finding a suitable alternative use for this unit, if the closure goes ahead.

"This news is a reflection of the difficulties currently facing high street retailers across the country.

"The future of our high streets is an issue that the council has looked at extensively, and we are ready to help them to evolve away from the traditional, retail-heavy model towards one that's more fitting for the 21st century.

"That way we can give them a new lease of life, ensuring our town centres remain vibrant."

The proposed closure is part of an ongoing drastic transformation by M&S. The latest announcement sees 17 stores facing the axe with the potential loss of more than 1,000 jobs

Paula Varley, M&S head of region for East Midlands, said: “Proposing to close our Boston store has not been an easy decision to make.

“Over the coming weeks we’ll be talking to each colleague individually as we go through the consultation process.

“We remain committed to our loyal customers and, if the proposal goes ahead, will continue to serve them at our Outlet in Springfields and Simply Food store in Spalding, which both offer Clothing & Home products via Click & Collect.”

M&S said it will enter a period of consultation with affected employees, with the intention of retaining as many as possible.

Sacha Berendji, retail, operations and property director at Marks & Spencer, said: “We’re continuing to transform M& S with pace and as part of this we are making good progress with our plans to close over 100 stores - radically reshaping our store estate to become more relevant for our customers.

“Proposing to close stores is never easy, for our colleagues, customers or the local community, but it is vital for the future of M&S. Where we have closed stores, we are continuing to see an encouraging number of customers choosing other nearby locations and shopping on M&S.com.”