Marks & Spencer to leave The Broadway shopping…

Marks & Spencer to leave The Broadway shopping centre in weeks

MARKS & Spencer has officially revealed its store in Bradford city centre will close for good next month. 

In February, the high street giant announced it was planning to shut its branch in The Broadway shopping centre.

The company has today confirmed the prominent shop will close on May 18.

Bosses said they are “continuing discussions with colleagues about what this decision means for them” – and affected staff will be offered alternative roles with the retailer “wherever possible”.

The business said “shopping habits are changing” and it wanted to make sure “we have the right stores in the right place and with the right space”.

The Marks & Spencer was in The Broadway shopping centre since it opened in 2015.

Vickie Smith, Marks & Spencer regional manager, told the Telegraph & Argus this afternoon: “We would like to thank all customers who have shopped with us at our Bradford Broadway store.

“The store will close on May 18 and we are continuing discussions with colleagues about what this decision means for them. Wherever possible, we will offer them alternative roles with M&S.

“Shopping habits are changing and so we’re rotating our store estate to make sure we have the right stores in the right place and with the right space. 

“Bradford remains a hugely important city for M&S and, in the last 10 years, we’ve invested more than £120million in our Bradford distribution centre, which employs over 1,800 people.

“We have also invested £20m in recent years in our stores across West Yorkshire.”

She said the company would continue to serve customers at Marks & Spencer branches at Bradford Royal Infirmary, Bingley, Ilkley – all Simply Food outlets –  as well as Owlcotes at Pudsey, and online.

Ian Ward, general manager at The Broadway, said: “M&S closing its store at The Broadway is a loss for both the city centre and the wider Bradford district, and we are thinking of all those affected.”

In February, The Broadway said it had “no communication” from Marks & Spencer over the its plans – and added that it was “surprised” and “disappointed”.

Christina Beggan, asset management director for Ellandi – which works with The Broadway – said at the time: “Overall, The Broadway is performing well – occupiers have been reporting positively both in terms of sales and footfall which is up six per cent on last year, bucking the national trend.

“This appears to be a wider M&S issue as opposed to a Broadway or a Bradford-specific problem.

“There is a general sense of excitement too with Primark opening soon which will attract even more visitors to the centre.

“The Broadway continues to thrive as a vibrant retail and leisure destination and we continue to support our occupiers, our customers and the wider city centre in what will be an exciting run-up to City of Culture 2025.”

When the retailer announced its plan to leave The Broadway, Shipley Tory MP Philip Davies said: “M&S is a destination shop – people will go to places because there’s an M&S.

“It’s going to have a devastating impact on the city centre. It’s unfortunately a vote of no confidence in Bradford.”

It was early October 2007 when the Telegraph & Argus exclusively revealed that M&S had formally signed up as an anchor tenant for Bradford’s then-£300m Broadway shopping development.

The ‘heads of terms’ deal signed in 2007 meant that M&S had agreed to underpin three of Westfield’s major schemes in the UK, including Bradford, where an unsightly ‘hole in the ground’ had developed since the old shopping centre was demolished.

Stuart Rose, then chief executive of M&S, said: “As we’ve said before, opening new stores is an important part of M&S’s strategy for the future and we are committed to improving and increasing our city centre offer.

“We are delighted to have secured the Westfield sites at Nottingham, Bradford and Stratford.”

Despite further delays to the Broadway scheme, M&S reaffirmed its commitment to the scheme in 2009 and again in 2011. Debenhams was also signed up as an anchor tenant.

Marks & Spencer closed its long-standing city centre store in Darley Street the day before its new shop opened in the Westfield development.