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Felixstowe's M&S store closes tomorrow ... join the final protest

PUBLISHED: 10:48 26 April 2019

Marks and Spencer, Felixstowe Picture: GOOGLE MAPS

Marks and Spencer, Felixstowe Picture: GOOGLE MAPS

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It will be a 20-mile round trip from next week to buy an M&S meal - and customers are planning to cut up their store loyalty cards as a final protest.

They will gather outside the Marks and Spencer in Hamilton Road, Felixstowe, at around 9.30am in protest with banners – and then cut up their cards.

The shop – widely believed to be the smallest M&S high street store in the country – has been part of the town for 80 years, and is one of 60 being axed across the UK.

In Felixstowe, more than 8,000 people signed a petition urging M&S to stay.

There has long been a feeling that the shop's clothing section should go and the store become food-only, and there was renewed hope when M&S said last month that it would be focusing on food halls in future.

But the company said there would be no reprieve – and people from the growing resort would face a 20-mile round trip to Martlesham if they wanted M&S food in future.

One of the store's long-standing customers, Linda Anderson, said thanked the staff for their hard work and loyalty.

She said: “This was not just our M&S – it was the lifeblood of our town!

“M&S management will never know quite how much they have hurt and upset the people of Felixstowe by their intransigence.

“For my part, I will settle my M&S card bill and close my account.”

In a letter to councillors, David Leach, M&S government affairs manager, said “We recognise that you will be very disappointed by the store closure, but we are convinced it is the right commercial decision for M&S for the reasons we have previously explained.”

After a meeting with M&S bosses at the House of Commons, in which there was a frank exchange of views, Felixstowe mayor Graham Newman said: “We stressed the convenience of access to the store, the free and inexpensive nearby parking facilities, and how Felixstowe is growing – with new homes and much improved tourist attractions.

“We asked whether a food-only outlet had been considered, bearing in mind this was easily the most popular feature of the store, although it currently occupied less than two thirds of the available floor area.”

However, the meeting was told M&S felt it was essential its shops were alongside other major outlets which would attract customers.

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