Leicester city centre 'resilient' says Sir Peter Soulsby after Marks and Spencer closure news

City Mayor gives statement on Marks and Spencer closure
City Mayor gives statement on Marks and Spencer closure -Credit:PA/ Joe Giddins

Leicester city mayor Sir Peter Soulsby has given a statement on the shock announcement that Marks and Spencer is to close in the city. M&S told LeicestershireLive this morning that it had made the "tough" decision about the Gallowtree Gate branch due to shopping habits changing.

Sir Peter said this afternoon that Leicester, "like other cities", had seen big names leave, including C&A, Lewis’s, BHS and Fenwick. But, he said, the city centre had been "remarkably resilient", and new businesses had stepped in to fill the gaps.

Sir Peter said the closure would open up opportunities for investment in the city centre, attracting "new life and new business". We are covering reaction to the news live, here.

READ MORE: Marks and Spencer in Leicester city centre to shut

Sir Peter told LeicestershireLive: “Over the decades, Leicester like other cities has seen many big names come to the end of their life. Many people will remember C&A, Lewis’s, BHS and Fenwick. While it’s painful at the time, the city centre has continued to be remarkably resilient with more new businesses moving in to fill the gaps.

“Although it’s sad when they leave, it does give an opportunity for new life and new business, and the city council’s investment in the city centre over recent years has been very successful in attracting new growth and renewed confidence.”

Following the news this morning, Marks and Spencer said its priority now would be to speak to staff and let them know what the "proposed" closure meant for them. It said they would look to offer them roles within the business, where possible.

Calum Telford, M&S regional manager, said: “Shopping habits are changing and our store rotation strategy is all about making sure we have the right stores with the right space to deliver a brilliant shopping experience for our customers. That means opening stores, investing in stores but also sadly closing others. As part of this transformation, we have made the tough decision to propose to close our Gallowtree Gate store in Leicester. We would like to thank all our customers who have shopped at the store over the years."