Business

34 jobs could go in Antrim as M&S shuts Junction store

M&S is closing its store in Antrim as part of a UK-wide programme to reshape its estate
Gary McDonald Business Editor

DOZENS of retail jobs are under threat in Antrim after Marks & Spencer confirmed plans to shut its outlet store at The Junction.

The company said it is consulting with 34 colleagues on the proposed closure, which is part of M&S's programme to reshape its UK store estate, with 100 shops likely to pull down the shutters or relocate.

The retailer released a list of 17 stores proposed for closure on Tuesday, in a move which will affect 1,045 employees.

As part of an accelerated store closure programme, M&S is on track to close over 100 stores.

Of these, 30 have already closed and 25 have been announced including Tuesday's list.

M&S said it will enter a period of consultation with affected employees, with the intention of retaining as many as possible.

To date, 1,891 workers have been impacted by the closures but the company said 1,591 of them - over 80 per cent - had been been redeployed to new roles.

Sacha Berendji, retail, operations and property director at Marks & Spencer, said: "We're continuing to transform M& S with pace and as part of this we are making good progress with our plans to close over 100 stores - radically reshaping our store estate to become more relevant for our customers.

"Proposing to close stores is never easy, for our colleagues, customers or the local community, but it is vital for the future of M&S. Where we have closed stores, we are continuing to see an encouraging number of customers choosing other nearby locations and shopping on M&S.com."

Simon Layton, head of region for Marks & Spencer Northern Ireland said: “The decision to propose the closure of our outlet store at The Junction has been a difficult one.

"Supporting our hard-working colleagues is our priority. We'll be speaking with them individually over the coming weeks about what's best for them.

“We will continue to serve our loyal customers from nearby stores in the region including M&S Ballymena which offers our full clothing & home range and our M&S food hall at Aldergrove which also offers clothing & home products via our Click & Collect service."

He added: “Our commitment to ongoing food expansion in Northern Ireland will continue with the opening of a new store in Carrickfergus this summer.”

The M&S outlet store at The Boulevard in Banbridge will continue to trade.

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