M&S customers could head to Sidmouth Waitrose

PUBLISHED: 16:00 10 January 2009 | UPDATED: 12:11 17 June 2010

WAITROSE in Sidmouth could benefit from the closure of Marks and Spencer in nearby Honiton. M&S announced on Wednesday that it is proposing to close its Simply Food store as part of a wider proposal by the retail giant to close up to 27 stores across the

WAITROSE in Sidmouth could benefit from the closure of Marks and Spencer in nearby Honiton.

M&S announced on Wednesday that it is proposing to close its Simply Food store as part of a wider proposal by the retail giant to close up to 27 stores across the UK.

If the proposed closure goes ahead this would mean shoppers would have to travel to the closest Marks and Sparks in Exeter, potentially leaving a gap in the food market for Waitrose to fill.

Barbara Roberts, 69, of Trinity Court, said: "That is a possibility. I go in there (Waitrose) weekly for a purpose and I usually use Marks and Spencers.

"I think Waitrose is so well established that the people round here still use Waitrose but people will now come from Honiton. The two are the same quality."

Mark Shepherd, Waitrose Sidmouth Branch Manager, said that although Honiton still has plenty to offer, investments in the Sidmouth branch of Waitrose will hopefully increase the number of people coming through its doors.

He said: "We would expect Honiton to remain an attractive destination for shoppers, however, as always we are continuing to invest in Sidmouth by enhancing our customers experience, which includes the extension of the store later this year."

Sidmouth residents, Judy Hulme and Tabitha Crook, who are Honiton M&S customers, said: "We think the store would be better off in Sidmouth - in the old Woolworths."

And Mr Williams said Waitrose would welcome any competition which gives further choice to Sidmouth residents.

He added: "We believe that it's important that Sidmouth shoppers have choice and would always welcome any investment which benefitted the town and the local business community in the long term."

M&S will now start a period of consultation with the store's 33 employees.

But East Devon District Council has said it is seeking an urgent meeting with directors of Marks and Spencer plc in a bid to stop the proposed closure.

Councillor Randall Johnson, leader of EDDC, said: "Honiton is an important gateway town to the far south west and EDDC will do all it can to help the local economy.


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