SHOPPERS angry at Marks & Spencer’s decision to close its King Street store can register their protest through a Gazette petition today.
News that the retail giant is to shut the doors of a store that has served South Tyneside for 80 years has sparked a wave of anger.
M&S announced the news while also confirming 37 staff would be transferred to its Silverlink outlet on North Tyneside, which is being expanded.
But that has not gone down well with its loyal customers in the borough and we’ve received a huge number of messages via letter, e-mail and on social networking sites Twitter and Facebook, as well as comments on our website: www.shieldsgazette.com
Today, the Gazette prints a petition form which readers can sign to voice their dismay at the news and also urge the company to return to suitable premises in South Tyneside at the earliest possible opportunity.
Gazette editor Joy Yates said: “The closure of M&S in South Shields sparked a wealth of reaction from our readers. We could not let this level of public commentary go unrecognized and aim to alert M&S to the level of reaction to the closure in the hope the store will seriously consider making a return to the town.”
South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck sought crisis talks with M&S and said the decision to close the store on March 29 left her “deeply disappointed”.
Council boss Iain Malcolm was equally dismayed by the news – which comes at a time when Town Hall bosses have outlined their £100m 365 regeneration plans for the town centre – and has urged M&S to look at returning to new premises in the borough in the future.
Leading business figures in the borough, including Michael Dickson of Dicksons butchers, have also expressed upset at the loss of such a high-profile trader.
As well as appearing in today’s Gazette, copies of the petition will also be available online at www.shieldsgazette.com, either to sign or download, and there will also be copies in our Gazette office in Chapter Row.