Retail giant Marks and Spencer is to close a flagship store that has been serving customers for over 80 years.
The St Nicholas Street store in Aberdeen is to close in 2025 as part of new plans to upgrade the Union Square shop with a £15m redevelopment
The upgrades will see it nearly double in size with a new food hall, a bigger in-store bakery and clothing, home and beauty departments.
The retailer says the new development acts as a “vote of confidence” in the future of retail in Aberdeen as it announced a £30m investment in Scottish stores.
Locations in Edinburgh, Largs, Linlithgow and Dundee will all see new outlets or expansions.
M&S said 6,500 jobs will be supported in communities as part of the new plans and confirmed no jobs will be lost as part of the changes.
In a statement, the company said: “As one of the biggest private sector investments in Aberdeen for years, these plans include £15m for M&S Aberdeen Union Square – next year expanding to almost the double the size with a spacious fresh market-style food hall full of exciting new features including a beautiful flower shop, a cheese barge, larger in-store bakery and dedicated M&S Wine Shop as well as bigger clothing, home and beauty departments – all designed to make shopping inspirational and easier than ever before.
“Spring 2025 is when the £15m expansion in Aberdeen Union Square is scheduled to complete and the city can boast the fourth biggest M&S in Scotland. M&S will then be closing its store on St Nicholas Street. Plans for this longer-term relocation have today been shared with colleagues – with all those on permanent contracts transferring over to M&S Aberdeen Union Square or other nearby stores next year.
“M&S will work closely with the council and partners on the future development of the St Nicholas store.”
Kevin Stewart MSP for Aberdeen Central has written a letter to urging an outlining of plans for the future of the site and not to engage in compulsory redundancies.
The SNP MSP has also asked Aberdeen City Council to form a task force to protect the surrounding area and has asked the Scottish Government to join should one be set up.
He said: “Marks and Spencer has been at the heart of St Nicholas Street / Union Street, for decades and many in Aberdeen, including myself, are saddened to hear that the store there will be closing down.
“It is now vital that the Council set up a Task force, including all stakeholders, focused not only on finding a new tenant for the site, but securing a bright future for the surrounding area and Union Street as a whole.
“The investment in the Union Square store is welcome and a real vote of confidence in Aberdeen and I hope that M&S will ensure that all jobs are safe and secure.
“I wish them as long a future at Union Square as they have had at St Nicholas Street.”
Christian Allard, co-Leader of Aberdeen City Council (ACC) said: “I am sure it must have been a very difficult decision for M&S to choose between Union Square and the St Nicholas building, which M&S owns.
“As a council we continue to work with partners in the public and private sector to explore investment opportunities, and ways to regenerate Union Street and the wider city centre.”
Ian Yuill, co-Leader of ACC said: “The decision by M&S to invest £15 million in its Union Square store demonstrates M&S’s confidence in the city when shopping habits are changing.
“We welcome their long-term commitment to the city centre, where the council is also investing in improved facilities to make Aberdeen attractive for residents and visitors alike.”
Rachel Rankine, north east regional manager for M&S, commented: “The scale of our investment is a vote of confidence in the future of retail in Aberdeen city centre, with a flagship store on the same scale as city centre stores in Birmingham and Liverpool.
“Where we have already invested in new formats, our customers have responded to the destination shopping experience and Aberdeen shoppers can look forward to having a bigger, better, fresher food hall and the best in M&S clothing and home.”
Sacha Berendji, M&S operations director added “This is our biggest ever investment in Scotland, putting £30m into transforming the shopping experience for customers in Aberdeen, Largs, Dundee and Linlithgow – bringing new jobs across the country with bigger, better, fresh-market style foodhalls and new opportunities for Scottish shoppers to access our best-ever, most inspiringly presented clothing, home and beauty range.
“Our investment in Scotland goes beyond new stores with M&S sourcing more Scottish produce than ever before, through strong partnerships with local producers.
“Around 2,500 Scottish farms, sea farms and fisheries supply us with great quality products, many supplied beyond Scotland to M&S stores across the UK. Our commitment to Scotland has never been stronger.”
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