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Last day of trading for Marks and Spencer in Deal High Street

By Eleanor Perkins

Deal's High Street will bid farewell to an iconic British brand today.

After 82 years in the town, the doors of Marks and Spencer will shut for the final time.

A precise closing time has not been given by the company, which says it is completely dependent on stock.

Marks and Spencer in Deal will close its doors for the final time today after 82 years
Marks and Spencer in Deal will close its doors for the final time today after 82 years

Its departure is a huge loss for the town whose residents rallied to try and save the store with both online and paper petitions.

The closure is part of the retailer's programme to re-shape its UK store estate and will be followed by the closure of Ashford's store next Saturday.

M&S spokesperson said, “Shopping habits are changing and reshaping our store estate to reflect this means making some difficult decisions.

"In Deal we hope to see lots of customers continuing to shop online and at our Dover, Westwood Cross and Canterbury stores.”

Marks and Spencer in Deal in 1958. Picture: Jan Marshall
Marks and Spencer in Deal in 1958. Picture: Jan Marshall

Marks and Spencer has been a part of the town's make-up since it opened in 1937.

The company announced its intention to close on January 15.

Not even a local campaign with more than 5,000 petition signatures and hundreds of emails to bosses was enough to save it.

Staff photographed together in 1977
Staff photographed together in 1977

Old snaps of Marks and Spencer staff parties have since emerged.

Deal Maritime and Local History Museum stumbled across the memories while cataloguing photographer Basil Kidd's recently donated archive.

Volunteers have since announced their plans to produce an exhibition dedicated to the shop's time in Deal as well as a book.

Marks and Spencer staff in 1970
Marks and Spencer staff in 1970
An M&S staff outing captured by Basil Kidd
An M&S staff outing captured by Basil Kidd

Marks and Spencer in Deal was once one of three department stores in a row.

During the 1950s, the retailer was sandwiched between Riceman's, to the left, and furniture store Brown & Philips, to the right.

The units are now occupied by Boots the Chemist and M&Co, respectively.

If you can help the museum with information about M&S get in touch by emailing museum@dealmuseum.co.uk, calling 01304 372098 or dropping a letter through the door of 22 St George's Road.

You can also follow the Museum on Instagram @dealmlhmuseum and Facebook (dealmaritimemuseum)

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