M&S has declined to say when a final decision on the future of its Bridlington store will be made.
The company announced last week that the Prince Street branch was one of eight which was earmarked for closure, with another six around the country shutting at the end of April.
The news prompted hundreds of comments from disappointed shoppers on the Free Press’ Facebook page.
Forty jobs are set to be affected if M&S presses ahead with its plans to close the Bridlington branch.
With the strength of public opinion clear, the Free Press sent these five questions to M&S.
With the Bridlington store on the list of branches earmarked for closure, when will staff and customers get a final decision on its future?
“This is a proposal for closure, the consultation will take as long as it needs to and we will update our customers and the local community when the time is right.”
What were the problems with the Bridlington store? Was it not profitable, not profitable enough or were there other issues which affected the decision?
“As you would expect, we’re reviewing our stores based on several factors including sales performance, profitability, nearby M&S stores (current locations and future openings), lease details and future investment needs.
“We would never discuss the specific details on individual stores, however we’ve looked at all these factors for the stores we have proposed for closure.”
Has M&S been made aware of the disappointment in the town at news of the possible closure? Will public reaction pay any part in the final decision?
M&S did not address this.
Was the prospect of making the store an M&S food store ever considered?
“Conversion to food is not suitable for these stores for a number of reasons, principally the size of the stores.
“When we consider the potential closure of a Clothing, Home and Food store this will always be a consideration, however it is not suitable for these locations.
If the building wasn’t suitable for M&S, did the company look at other bigger, smaller or better located buildings in Bridlington? Or is Bridlington not considered a suitable town for M&S going forward?
M&S did not address this.
The Free Press first reported on fears for the future of Bridlington’s M&S in November 2016.
A list compiled by the Local Data Company identified the resort as one of 52 locations where it believed the store was vulnerable.
Its report described Bridlington as a ‘weakening’ town centre, and suggested M&S would look to pull out of places which were considered to be in serious decline. It said towns which had two branches could also see one close as part of restructuring.
At that stage, M&S described the report as ‘pure speculation’.