Shoppers vented their anger and sadness in the wake of the devastating news that Marks and Spencer plans to close its Gravesend store.
The Messenger broke the announcement on KentOnline that the store in New Road, Gravesend, had been earmarked for closure by bosses.
M&S has been based in Gravesend for more than a century and has been in its current location since 1927. The store is well used by those who prefer it to the massive M&S superstore in Bluewater, with the Gravesend branch a particular favourite with the elderly.
We've been out in the town today assessing reaction to the news.
Steve Platt, 36, of Whitehill Road, Gravesend, said: “We’ve grown up with this shop. First we lost Army and Navy and now this. I think it’s disgraceful, another recognised traditional British retailer lost from the town.”
Mike Savill, 76, of Perry Street, Gravesend, said: “Not everyone can go to Bluewater, we come in here every time we come into town. I’d be sad to see it go, for sure,”
Others bemoaned the lack of quality in the town's shops and said this would add to the malaise.
“There aren’t any decent shops here [in Gravesend] now they’re all cheap shops, it’s got ridiculous,” said Michael Oxford, 70, from Riverview Park, Gravesend, who added: "It would be an inconvenience to go to the Bluewater M&S."
Many on the Messenger’s Facebook page said the closure of Marks and Sparks is the beginning of the end for shopping in Gravesend and were scared that it will be replaced with another pound shop.
Mary Curran said: “That is terrible news and what will be there another pound store? What about the elderly and what about the regular customers who have not got cars to get their food and bits?”
Josie Turner said: “Surely not. I can’t remember ever not having a M&S in Gravesend. I go in there every week, so it looks like I’ll be going to Bluewater more often [now]. [This is] bad news for Gravesend as a whole, which has now only got two main stores in the whole of the town centre. The rest is made up with pound shops and fast food outlets.”
Shahidur Rahman said: “It will be sad for the town centre as there will no more brand shops left soon, [the closure is] very sad news for shoppers.”
Nic Santer said: “What a joke. Soon the only thing you will find in Gravesend will be empty shops, oh yeah, there’s already loads of them.”
Charlotte Broughton said: “I used to work there but then transferred a year ago. It’s a lovely store and it’s so sad it’s closing down. I’ve known all the women in there all my life (plus my mum), I just hope that they are all okay after this shocking news.”
However, not everyone was disappointed with the proposed closure of the store.
Charlotte Hudson said: “They have seriously limited stock, it’s badly displayed and always looks a bit grubby and they wonder why no one goes there.”
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