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Collapse of Friarsgate means there is no viable site for a larger Marks and Spencer store in Lichfield, company confirms

The collapse of Friarsgate means that there is no longer a suitable location to keep a Marks and Spencer store in the city, according to a company spokesman.

The current foodhall outlet in the Three Spires Shopping Centre has been earmarked for closure.

But any hope of the company retaining a site in Lichfield appear to have been dashed following the demise of the long-awaited Friarsgate development.

Company spokesman David Leach said: “We do remain interested in opening a larger food store in Lichfield as it is a market of interest.

“We had previously looked at relocating from our current location to a larger foodhall as part of the Friarsgate scheme which has since collapsed, but there are no suitable alternative sites available in the Lichfield area at the moment.

“We will keep in touch with the council to consider any future opportunities as they arise, but we do have quite demanding criteria for new food store developments given the current challenges in the retail market.

“Our decision related to the small store format and our current location in Lichfield, combined with the store’s relatively weak commercial performance. That meant we decided not to renew the lease as it has come up for renewal.”

The comments came following a letter from Lichfield MP Michael Fabricant who had asked for clarification on the company’s position.

Michael Fabricant

Michael Fabricant

“The closure of the store in Lichfield is regrettable,” Mr Fabricant said.

“Although the loyal staff there will all be deployed to other branches, both they – and customers like me – will miss the store, its central location, and its unique product range.

“This is sadly part of a major restructuring by Marks and Spencer, with around 100 branch closures across the UK. The costs of staffing and distribution make smaller food stores, owned by large chains, unviable.

“However, I wanted to determine whether the company had written off Lichfield completely.

“I hope that Lichfield District Council will now be as pro-active finding a site for Marks and Spencer as they were some years back when I first introduced them to the John Lewis Partnership which owns Waitrose supermarkets.

“I remain cautiously optimistic that we will eventually see a larger store back in Lichfield.”

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Founder of LichfieldLive and editor of the site.

3 Comments

  1. John Billings

    16th October, 2018 at 2:54 pm

    Would have thought it’s prime place to be given the average age of Lichfield residents!

  2. Markie

    17th October, 2018 at 11:32 am

    Not a word from Fabricant about the failure of the council to effectively deliver the Friarsgate project, and in the process costing the tax payer £7million as well as closing Tempest Ford needlessly. How are the council heads still in a job?!?

  3. Philip Allso

    25th October, 2018 at 8:56 am

    Well there you are M & S, a gift from the Gods. A large ready made store at the top of the precinct for you to move into soon. Or will this too become another housing development?

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