Closure of Wigan's Marks and Spencer store confirmed for this year

Wigan’s Marks and Spencer store will close later this year - dashing hopes of a last-minute reprieve.

A spokesman for the department store chain has confirmed the shop on Standishgate will shut towards the end of the year.

M&S on Standishgate will close later this year

M&S on Standishgate will close later this year

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It will be replaced by a food-only store at Robin Retail Park, which will open at the same time.

The announcement, made the day after M&S released a list of 17 stores proposed for closure, comes after months of speculation about the shop’s future.

Chief executive Steve Rowe said in September that the firm intended to “explore” the move, but no plans had been finalised.

But today, an M&S spokesman said: “The decision to close M&S Wigan was a difficult but necessary one. We remain committed to serving customers in the region and we’re looking forward to welcoming customers to our new food hall at Robin Retail Park.”

She said staff would be spoken to individually about what the plans meant for them.

There has been an M&S store in Wigan since the late 19th Century, with founder Michael Marks living in the town while he established the chain.

The retailer currently has an accelerated store closure programme and is on track to shut more than 100 stores.

Wigan Council’s leader Coun David Molyneux wrote to the firm’s chief executive in September to voice his concerns about the plans.

He described it as “a significant blow” to the town centre.

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The council is currently working on a future masterplan for the Galleries shopping centre, which it acquired last year.

New uses being looked at to compliment the retail offer include residential, food and drink and leisure activities.

Becca Heron, director of economy and skills at the council, said: “It is our understanding that M&S is still intending to relocate from Standishgate. Whilst we regret that decision, we are working hard to come up with a long-term plan for the town to ensure its vibrancy, growth and success.”