Warwick and Leamington MP 'reminds M&S of promises made' to Warwick during 'constructive' meeting with the company

The MP's petition campaigning to save the Simply Food store in Warwick has more than 3,000 signatures online

The MP for Leamington and Warwick has said that he has reminded M&S of the promises it made the town of Warwick during a 'constructive' meeting about the town's Simply Food store.

Last month M&S revealed it would be shutting the ‘Simply Food’ store in Market Street in Warwick and the clothing store in the Royal Priors Shopping Centre in Leamington when the new M&S store opens on the Leamington Shopping Park later this year.

News of this sparked much anger among residents - especially those living in Warwick who want to keep the food store.

Warwick and Leamington MP Matt Western had a meeting with representatives from M&S about the future of the Warwick Simple Food store. Photo by Matt Western

Members of the Warwick Chamber of Trade also criticised the move saying the company had promised to keep the Warwick store open ahead of a new Foodhall opening on the shopping park, which was given planning permission in March 2019 after an appeal.

Following on from the news MP Matt Western set up a petition, which now has more than 3,000 signatures, to try and keep the store in Warwick.

This week Mr Western had a meeting with M&S to continue to make a case for the Simple Food store and he said he also reminded them of previous promises made.

On his social media Mr Western said: "I had a constructive meeting with M&S Chairman Archie Norman.

"I took the opportunity to reaffirm the case I had put to him previously in my letter weeks ago to keep the Warwick store open.

"M&S will lose customers who will not travel to Leamington shopping park.

"The accessible town centre setting with ideal transport links, including the bus station directly outside for those with limited mobility, make it a valuable asset for the company and the community. It is also vital for our town centre.

"I reminded him that the firm assured residents in 2017 that it would retain the Simply Food store as a precondition for opening the out-of-town department store - as shown in planning documents and consultation leaflets from the firm itself.

"These arguments, I believe, make the Warwick M&S a special case. Not to mention nearly 4,000 people have signed a petition to save it.

"Now I will continue to strengthen my case by reviewing footfall, profitability, analysing the store's customers and how they travel to the store.

"I will keep working to reach a settlement."

To sign the petition go to: https://mattwestern.org/campaign/save-our-ms-petition-to-prevent-closure-of-warwick-and-leamington-stores/#petitonAn M&S spokesperson said: “We are pleased to be investing in the local area with our brand new, larger M&S store which will offer customers a much wider range of M&S product across our food and clothing and home departments and create more local jobs.

"We appreciate that the closure of our Warwick Simply Food store is disappointing news for some, but we believe this is the right decision to ensure we can make the necessary investment in a store for the local area that is fit for the future.”