Supermarket refuses to scotch rumours of a return to Wigan town centre

The Morrisons store in Ince could close
The Morrisons store in Ince could close

Wigan town centre has faced vast changes over the past few years, with the departure of Morrisons being cited as the catalyst for a dramatic drop in footfall.

However, rumours are rife across town that the supermarket giant could be returning to the high street, taking the place of another popular retailer.

The new Superdrug shop at Robin Retail Park

The new Superdrug shop at Robin Retail Park

In recent weeks, the Wigan Observer has been contacted by hopeful residents suggesting that Morrisons will be reopening in Wigan, this time taking the place of Marks and Spencer - which is set to move to Robin Park.

Back in January, M&S revealed that it would be closing its Standishgate store and opening a food hall on the retail park just outside the town centre.

The news wasn’t received warmly by residents, especially those who cannot drive and now face a taxi or bus journey to their closest M&S.

Fast forward to last month, Morrisons revealed that its Ince store is earmarked for closure.

It is one of four stores in the country whose future is in doubt and subject to a consultation being launched.

The company was forced to acknowledge that this means the dozens of jobs in the store are at risk of redundancy.

However, the supermarket says it will work with those affected and trade unions and hopes to keep job losses to a minimum, which would be achieved by redeploying staff elsewhere in the business.

If the Ince store were to go, the only remaining Morrisons in the borough would be the one near the Leigh Sports Village.

But if the rumours are true, Wiganers could benefit from the opening of a new branch in the town centre, less than four years after its closure.

When we contacted Morrisons to get to the bottom of the speculation, the company replied (after a three-day delay) that they did not respond to local rumours.

Marks and Spencer are in the process of confirming dates for the closure of the town centre store and the opening of the new Robin Park site but they are believed to have pencilled in November 5 as the last day on Standishgate. .

They have also been contacted for comment but did not respond.

While the town centre appears to be losing retailers at a rate of knots, Robin Retail Park seems to be growing in success.

In the past couple of years it has seen the addition of KFC, Costa Coffee, Subway and Card Factory, and Superdrug is soon to be opening in the former Clinton Cards unit, but there is nothing to suggest that this latest move will affect the store located within the Grand Arcade.

So despite our best efforts, we are no nearer the truth about what is actually happening in our town centre.