Statement from Stockport Council regarding Marks & Spencer

Stockport Council is disappointed, but not surprised, to hear the news this morning about Marks & Spencer's proposals for its Stockport store.

The trading problems the retailer has been facing over recent years have been well documented and the investment that has been made into the Stockport store by the retailer has been limited, and in light of this we have been working to prepare for all eventualities.

We are now in discussions with the retailer over their future intentions for Stockport, their plans for the site and to ensure that we can offer the affected staff as much support as possible.

Stockport remains the most popular town centre within South Manchester, attracting over 15 million visitors each year, meaning it is ranked amongst of the top 3% of retail centres within the UK.

The town’s offer is being be further reinforced by the ongoing £1 billion transformation currently being undertaken by the Council and partners, which will ensure the town centre meets the future changing trends and patterns of not only retailing but other uses too, and we are confident that this news will not impact on the town’s economic viability.

Redrock Stockport opened in November and is already trading well ahead of forecasts and will bring hundreds of thousands of new visitors to the town centre showing just how vibrant Stockport is. Investment in the town centre by the private sector is at the highest recorded level for years.

Whilst we wish to keep Marks & Spencer in Stockport town centre, this may offer opportunities as the Council continues to plan for the redevelopment and future of Merseyway Shopping Centre - a redevelopment which will continue the significant renaissance Stockport is experiencing and further reinforce the town’s position.

Councillor Kate Butler, Cabinet Member for Economy and Regeneration at Stockport Council said: “Whilst we want to keep Marks & Spencer in Stockport, we are not surprised by the news. Our priority now is to work closely with them to discuss their plans for Stockport, as we very much see Marks & Spencer as part of our vision for the town centre. We will therefore be looking closely at the opportunities our regeneration plans offer them for the future, as well as to support their staff many of whom will be local residents.”