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Marks & Spencer plans to pull out of Hounslow after 80 years

Retailer says it has begun consultation with staff at the store, who would be offered jobs elsewhere

Marks & Spencer Outlet in High Street, Hounslow (Photo by Stacey Harris, via Creative Commons)(Image: Stacey Harris, via Creative Commons)

Marks & Spencer has announced plans to close its Hounslow Outlet store, bringing to an end 80 years in the town centre.

The retailer claimed the discount store in Hounslow High Street was no longer needed as it is now managing its clothing stock more effectively.

On Monday (June 22), it said consultation had begun with the shop's 60 staff, who would be offered positions at other nearby stores should it shut. No closure date has yet been proposed.

"After much consideration, we have taken the difficult decision to propose the closure of our Hounslow Outlet store," said an M&S spokesman.

The Hounslow branch is one of four Outlet stores M&S plans to close. The company is keeping some of its discount stores elsewhere in the country.

Should the Hounslow store close, the nearest full M&S stores would be in Richmond, two-and-a-half miles away, Ealing Broadway (3.5 miles) and Kew (3.5 miles).

M&S, which does not own the building, had been in Hounslow town centre since 1935.

The decision to rebrand the store as an 'Outlet' branch several years ago was controversial at the time as it meant the full range of goods was no longer available there.

The proposed closure will come as a blow to hopes for the High Street's regeneration, which had been boosted by the opening of large new H&M and Next stores at the Treaty Centre late last year.

Stephen Fry, chief executive of Hounslow Chamber of Commerce, described the decision as "very short-sighted".

"How is it that this brand has stayed put during the hard times & just as @InvestHounslow is about to payout they go?" he asked on Twitter.

"This is the time to be in Hounslow. Next and H&M are doing incredibly well, the Treaty Centre's footfall is up and they've got further plans to invest," he told getwestlondon.

"You've got the new town centre development planned by Barratt London and Wilson Bowden, and there are new pathfinder businesses near the bus garage which have opened ready for regeneration to happen in the next two to three years. If M&S pulls out of Hounslow now, it would be a very short-sighted move."

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