Marks & Spencer has announced it will not be taking up its option on new retail space at the Prince’s Gate at Oldham Mumps development. Oldham Council was contacted today (November 22) by the retailer and informed of the decision.
M&S recently confirmed plans to close 30 UK clothing and homeware shops and convert dozens more into food stores as part of a business restructuring. It came after the firm had reported falling sales and profits in the six months to the end of September.
M&S and Oldham Council had announced the plans for Prince’s Gate in November 2014 as part of a mixed-use scheme that includes retail and residential opportunities.
Jean Stretton, Oldham Council Leader, said: “We are, naturally, disappointed by this decision.”
“It’s well-known that Marks & Spencer has been experiencing difficulties in a very competitive market and they recently announced store closures as part of a business restructuring. When they first informed us of this decision today, Marks & Spencer were clear that although this means they will not be taking retail space at the Prince’s Gate site, this does not mean that they’re necessarily closing the door on coming to Oldham.
“I want to reassure people that we are continuing to have discussions with them about this and we are hopeful of a positive future outcome. The global economic and trade factors affecting M&S at this time are completely outside of our control – and our ambitions for Oldham remain undaunted.
“Rest assured that we will leave no stone unturned to deliver a positive outcome at the Prince’s Gate site which complements our wider regeneration programme in the town centre.
“Despite this news, Oldham town centre is firmly on the up and the stunning Old Town Hall cinema and restaurant complex which opened last month is already bringing increased footfall, trade, investment and visitors here. We are in positive discussions with several partners to capitalise further on that success.