Letter to Marks and Spencers

I am following up my questions to you about the possible closure of the Wokingham store after hearing the views of more of my constituents.

 There is a general feeling amongst those interested in the issue that we would like Marks and Spencer to stay in the town. The Town Centre as you know is currently undergoing a substantial redevelopment to make it a more attractive retail centre with more floorspace. Wokingham Borough is expanding with four major new sites for additional housing, including two nearby in Wokingham itself. New residents will need good shops.  The Borough expects these changes to generate more footfall in Wokingham centre. The area around the Marketplace is a great setting for shopping, with a rich diversity of places to have a coffee or buy a meal. The Town actively promotes itself with a calendar of events designed to bring more people into the centre.

 Your sales figures and market research will of course inform your judgements about the retail offer that would work best for your business. There does seem to be more direct competition on food than on some of your standard textile lines which might have a bearing on how best to trade your current unit.

 I  would be happy to help find a way to keep it open to serve future Wokingham customers.




  1. Lifelogic
    April 26, 2017

    I am never very impressed by the current M&S, over priced, bland and usually very over sweet food. Their clothing used to be far better quality back in their heyday, but now it is the same imported stuff that all the rest like Tesco and Asda sell. Occasionally their soft fruit is worth the rather high prices but little else.

  2. alan jutson
    April 26, 2017


    M&S have just opened a food only store just out of Wokingham Town within the new garage complex near to Tesco on the Finchampstead road.
    Why would they want two stores in the same town, given the present Peach street store is quite small and half of it is devoted to food.
    Would a small clothes only store, with only a limited range be sustainable?

    I also understand they have taken a very large store in the massive new development at Bracknell which is only a few miles away, and it will certainly be closer to Wokingham than the present large stores at Camberley and Reading.

    Worth a try JR but I think Wokingham needs to concentrate on independent shops so it offers something different to the usual big high street chains.

    1. Cliff. Wokingham.
      April 26, 2017


      As I recall, when M & S first opened their store in what was the old Waitrose shop, it was agreed they would only sell food. I didn’t think at the time that it would survive selling food only. It has survived far longer than I expected but, we do see more clothing lines than were expected. Knowing how high business rates are in Wokingham, I would hate to have to pay the rates on a shop of that size; that in itself must be a real drain on M & S’s bottom line.

      Regarding the M & S “garage” store on the Finchampstead Road, I would guess this is to attract the large number of office workers who go into Tescos for take away coffee and sandwiches. My wife and I often take the bus from Tesco to our home and I never cease to be amazed by the number of people who go into Tescos and buy multiple cups of overpriced coffee, sandwiches and pastries from the coffee concession therein.

  3. Antisthenes
    April 26, 2017

    Property based retail has not many years of life left in it. Online shopping, taxes, and local and national regulations are driving them out of business. Particularly apparent in town centres where new redevelopments are a complete waste of investment. Already out of town shopping is experiencing reduced attendance of shoppers. So in time they will go the way of the high street.

  4. Pauline Jorgensen
    April 26, 2017

    I like M&S and am particularly impressed by their food offering, however the Wokingham Stor seems to fall between two stools, it continues to try and offer clothing which constrains its food offering – it would be better mirroring M&S in Earley or indeed Woodley with the extensive choice of food and just small number of work/school shirts and other essentials. It is too small to be all things to all people.

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