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‘Closure of Holloway Road M&S is a bitter blow,’ says Corbyn

Labour leader urges rethink as Town Hall chiefs hope to persuade retailer to keep store open

25 May, 2018

Marks & Spencer plan to close their Holloway Road store early next year

PLANS to shut a promin­ent branch of Marks & Spencer have been dubbed a “bitter blow” by Jeremy Corbyn, as a fightback begins to save the Holloway Road store.

There were warnings that the closure, which is expected early next year, could impact the Nags Head shopping area and the Town Hall has stepped in to urge the company to reconsider.

The national retailer said shutting 14 of its stores would be “vital” for its streamlining plans, which overall will see 100 branches close by 2022.

Mr Corbyn, the Labour Party leader and Islington North MP, said: “The decision to close M&S on Holloway Road is a bitter blow for workers and the local community.”

He added: “High street stores are more than places to buy groceries, clothes and other essentials. They are part of what creates a vibrant community. I hope M&S reconsiders this decision.”

The shop, which opened in 1914 and sells clothes and food, employs 61 staff who will be “redeployed” to other nearby stores, including the new Archway Foodhall, which is due to open next year near Archway tube station, and its Liverpool Road shop.

Specific reasons behind the closure were not revealed, but an M&S spokeswoman said they considered several factors, including sales performance, profitability and lease details.

Islington cabinet councillor Asima Shaikh said: “We are really disappointed they have decided to close. We are going to be reaching out to urge them to reconsider that decision as it’s an important retailer in one of our really healthy and thriving town centres.”

She added: “I think the Nags Head is economically healthy and I think it’s about the M&S business model rather than the Nags Head. If we can’t persuade them not to shut, we do not think we will have a problem filling that space. I just think we all love M&S.”

But former chairwoman of the Nags Head Town Centre Group (NHTCG), Sharon Black, said the Holloway Road has seen an “unfortunate decline” in recent years.

She added: “The only shops that are surviving are coffee shops and restaurants. Online shopping is unfortunately taking over – or they want the experience of the likes of Westfield shopping centre rather than local high streets. It’s sad to hear M&S is going, that will have a real impact on Holloway Road.”

Ada Okechukwu, the current chairwoman of NHTCG, said she too was “concerned” to hear of the closure.

She added: “The Nags Head town centre, however, is resilient and will continue to offer a good mix of local shops and services for the local community and people further afield.”

Simon Lucas, head of region for central London at Marks & Spencer, said: “Deciding to close M&S Holloway Road was a difficult decision and I understand many of our loyal customers will be disappointed by this news.” He added: “We have a wonderful team and I’m pleased they’ll be relocating to nearby stores, including the new Archway Foodhall when it opens in 2019.”

Shopper: ‘It’s an important landmark’

Julia McClory (above), 65, who is from Bloomsbury, has a daughter who lives in Holloway Road. She said:“It’s a shame it’s closing and I don’t want it to go. I don’t know why they chose to close this one. They are keeping the one in Angel – maybe Holloway Road isn’t upmarket enough for them?”

Morris Fitzgerald (above), 75, who lived off Holloway Road for more than 50 years, now lives in Finchley. He said: “I think it’s an important landmark for many people and it’s been here for many years. I come here three or four times a week. I don’t know if anything can replace it.”

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