Wokingham’s Marks and Spencers

Yesterday I visited Marks and Spencer to talk to the Manager, members of staff and some of the shoppers.

I was told of the Company’s consultation about possible closure. I understand employees have not yet been offered jobs in nearby Marks stores, as the closure is still under consideration.

The shoppers I met were pleased with the store and keen to see it stay open. There were plenty of people in it on a Friday morning. The Company will not share its trading figures for the store. It is possible in the weeks during the demolition of the central area of Wokingham between Peach Street and Rose Street and the construction of new shops there will be some adverse short term impact on town centre  footfall. It is highly likely that as soon as the new shops are available more people will come to the town centre to shop, have a coffee or have a meal.

I will let you know the Company’s response and my follow up. I will stress the support for the shop from many Wokingham town centre regulars.

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  1. Antisthenes
    Posted April 30, 2017 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    You have identified that the high street now only attracts that which provides instant gratification and/or is a leisure activity such as coffee shops and restaurants. Anything that can be provided remotely and these days within 24 hours can be sources from the comfort of ones own home. So footfall shopping except in places which people want to congregate for enjoyment will wither away completely. High street shops and even large out of town shopping areas are going to become and endangered species. Not just the internet and therefore our shopping behaviour is causing it but also out misguided insistence of demanding more regulation and things like higher unjustified minimum wages, planning, universal facilities and more. Creating costs that shops like Marks and Spencer cannot meet by charging prices that customers are prepared to pay so are having to close.

  2. Pauline Jorgensen
    Posted April 30, 2017 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    I like M&S and shop their regularly but I dont often use the Wokingham one preferring Woodley and Lower Earley. I think Wokingham M&S falls between two stools, it is too small and is trying to satisfy all markets as a result it has less food choice than a simply food and a small selection of clothes, maybe that is the root of the problem?

  3. alan jutson
    Posted May 7, 2017 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    I am given to understand that M&S has a policy that Returns of goods bought on line, or from other larger stores, which are taken back to a local store because it is the most convenient way of returning them for the customer, count against that stores sales.

    If this policy is true, then perhaps Wokingham store sales will look very poor indeed.

    Perhaps Food for thought John, as people do not return much food, only clothes.

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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