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Marks and Spencer shoppers bid staff 'good luck' as two stores prepare to shut in days


Marks and Spencer has an impressive 405 stores in the UK but it will soon drop two from its estate.

The popular retailer, known for selling everything from up-market groceries to beauty and fashion items, will close branches in the North-East of England in the coming days.

Shoppers in Sunderland and Hexham will see their local M&S close down for good within the next week.

It comes weeks after the closures were announced by the British brand, which has been a pillar on the high street since being established in 1884.

The two stores are less than a one-hour drive from one another, so the closures will no doubt be felt by those who live between Hexham and Sunderland.

Shoppers in Hexham will bid farewell to the Maidan’s Walk M&S on Friday, May 25.

The retailer said the move was prompted by “changing” shopping habits and added it had invested £13million in its North East stores over the past year.

But that hasn’t lessened the blow to shoppers who frequent the shop, including one man who took to X, formerly Twitter to say: “M&S announced their closure decision for the Hexham store in February 2024, after 16 years of trading. Counting down the last 10 days now, and they’ll be a real miss. Thank you and good luck to all the staff.”

Another chimed: “Can we please take a moment to reflect that those M&S tills in Hexham will be getting turned on for the final time in just under two weeks?”

Marks and Spencer fans in Sunderland will see the branch on High Street West close its doors for good on the same day as those in Hexham.

The double-whammy store closure comes as a crushing blow to those who frequent the city centre.

A sign posted in the store has urged customers to visit their nearest alternative store in the Galleries Shopping Centre, Washington, which is an 18-minute drive away.

One saddened local took to X to say: “It’s actually happening. Sunderland M&S closing 25th May. So now the only food shop we have in the city centre is Iceland – which has one till open at busy times and the food comes frozen in boxes.”

Another proclaimed: “I can’t believe M&S are closing even with the big one in Washington! It’s always really busy and the staff are lovely. Very sad.”

One Sunderland shopper went as far as to say the closure was an “absolute disgrace”, claiming that “M&S should be ashamed of themselves” for shutting the city centre branch.

It comes as part of the supermarket giant’s plans to shake up its high street store presence, closing 110 branches and opening 100.

In October 2022, the posh retailer announced that 67 “lower productivity” branches would shut down over the following five years.

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