Marks and Spencer announces closing date for city's high street store

Having opened in 1935, the Glasgow Sauchiehall Street store has been an icon of the high street.

A date for the closure of Glasgow’s Sauchiehall Street Marks and Spencer store has been set.

In January, it was announced the historic shop would shut in response to “changing” shopping habits.

In what has been described as another blow in the “collapse” of the city’s Sauchiehall Street, the shop’s shutters are due to come down on April 30.

The major thoroughfare has seen investment in recent years, with redevelopment of the street west of M&S increasing space for pedestrians and cyclists, but it has been plagued with large numbers of vacant units.

The business said it had found alternative roles elsewhere in M&S for the majority of the store’s employees.

M&S’s regional manager said the company was in discussions with a potential partner to take on the Art Deco site for “complementary” alternative use for the site.

In March, Marks and Spencer’s chief executive Steve Rowe announced he would stand down after six years in the role as the business enters the “second phase of its transformation”.

He took charge during a turbulent period for the company which has seen more than 60 store closures and major changes to how it operates during his time – the Sauchiehall Street store is the latest to go in the business’ transformation.

Having opened in 1935, it doubled the supermarket’s store space in the city and was the first of its Scottish shops to feature a cafe.

Main entrance and frontage of a Marks and Spencer shop in Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow, 2011.

It also saw staff wearing co-ordinated uniforms for the first time, with dark dresses and starched white collars.

The Sauchiehall Street store was proud to be home to some of the most decorated M&S colleagues to serve in the forces during the Second World War.

Those recognised for their dedicated service include Flight Lieutenant Robert James Greenfield, awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross and Distinguished Flying Medal, Sergeant Observer Robert James Alexander, awarded an MBE, and Flight Lieutenant Patrick G Kirkaldy, awarded a Certificate of Merit.

A refurbishment project took 18 months and culminated in a grand reopening in August 1985, with special guest Mickey Mouse officially opening the store.

David Bates, M&S regional manager, said: “Shopping habits are changing, and this means we need to focus our investment on the right stores in the right places so we can provide the very best shopping experience for our Glasgow customers.”

As part of the “transformation”, in January Mr Bates announced the closure of the Sauchiehall Street store.

“This means we can invest in our twelve other Glasgow stores including nearby M&S Argyle Street – so we keep pace with the demands of our customers today and in the future,” he said.

“We’ve worked hard to find alternative roles with M&S for as many colleagues as possible and have achieved this for the majority of those affected.

“Our priority is supporting everyone through these changes. We would like to thank all our brilliant Sauchiehall St colleagues – past and present – and all our Glasgow customers who have shopped with us in this store.

“We want to make sure our existing site finds a complementary alternative use for the area, and we are in discussions with a potential partner. We will keep the community updated as these developments progress.”

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