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Marks and Spencer store in Gravesend employing dozens of people earmarked for closure

Marks and Spencer has today announced plans to close its Gravesend store that employs dozens of people.

Company bosses have decided work to update the store in New Road would not be
"financially viable" and revealed plans to shut it in a statement this morning.

But the company was keen to make it clear that jobs were not at risk and staff would be offered posts at other stores.

Marks and Spencer has been based in the town for more than 100 years and employs 63 people.

Marks and Spencer in Gravesend town centre

The closure could take place as early as August this year.

A Marks and Spencer spokesman said: "We are closely managing our store estate to ensure it is fit for the future of M&S and, after much consideration, we have taken the decision to propose the closure of our store in New Road.

"We hope the store's customers will continue to shop with us at our new look stores in Bluewater and Hempstead Valley and on our new website, M&S.com.

"All colleagues will be offered positions in other M&S stores."

A statement issued by Gravesham council said: "Gravesham Borough Council was amazed by the news of potential closure of Marks & Spencer’s store in Gravesend which has been part of the retail offering in town for more than a century.

"The council believes the proposal is extraordinary given the imminent regeneration of the town centre, the planned Paramount resort and the garden city scheme for Ebbsfleet – all of which have the capacity to inject massive investment, interest, footfall and business into the town.

"Now does not seem to be the time to withdraw from a town on the brink of such huge opportunities.

"Gravesham council will be making strong representations to M&S management and offering employees support in their efforts to retain the New Road store.

"We believe that there is a strong case to retain, or even expand, M&S’s presence in Gravesend and will do all we can to drive that case home."

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