M&S to open out-of-town food store

Marks & Spencer's shop in the High Street.

Marks & Spencer's shop in the High Street. - Credit: Archant

A MAJOR retailer has applied for permission to open an out-of-town store in Weston – and create up to 60 new jobs.

Rumours have circulated in the town since last September that Marks & Spencer was looking to open a store at the former Comet unit in Flowerdown Retail Park off Aisecome Way.

Blackrock UK Property Fund, acting on behalf of the high street chain, has applied for permission to extend the variety of goods to be sold in the unit to allow for a Simply Food store.

The new shop would create approximately 60 full-time jobs, and fill a unit which has been empty since Comet went into administration in December 2012.

The company has also confirmed it is still committed to its town centre store in the High Street, which sells both food and clothes.

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A Marks & Spencer spokesman said: “We’re always looking to ensure that we are in the right locations to best serve our customers.

“If planning is granted, a new Simply Food store at Flowerdown Retail Park would complement our existing town centre store by enhancing choice and convenience and create 50-60 new jobs.”

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The planning application document says how the new store will not have an adverse impact on the town centre and how moving into TJ Hughes or Dolphin Square would not represent a good business decision.

It says: “M&S Simply Food already operates a store in Weston town centre and in this way, already contribute to the vitality and viability of the town centre.

“An additional town centre store, or an expansion onto the upper floors of the existing town centre store is not a viable option for M&S as it would not provide any benefits in terms of improved range and choice for consumers; it would simply duplicate the existing offer in the town centre.”

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