A FLAGSHIP Marks & Spencer department store near Ellesmere Port is still expected to be built, despite a national closure programme.
The company has also given reassurances it will not be shutting either of its two Chester city stores, after announcing last week that it was going to close 25 of its small Simply Food stores, two of its regular stores and cut 1,230 jobs nationwide.
The Chester operation has been viewed as vulnerable for a long time because it has not just one store, but two opposite each other in Foregate Street, one selling food and ladies’/children’s clothing, the other selling menswear and furnishings.
The new Cheshire Oaks store is expected to take some of its business after it was estimated the outlet could attract £6m a year from retailers generally within Chester city centre.
M&S spokeswoman Lucy Kelly confirmed Chester was not among the 27 mainly food stores listed for closure.
And she said job losses were “just in stores where there is a proposed closure”, which could see the loss of up to 780 positions across the country.
The retailer is also planning to cut 450 head office jobs.
It is anticipated the two storey Cheshire Oaks store, which Miss Kelly confirmed would still go ahead subject to planning consent, will replace the existing Marks & Spencer Simply Food store on The Coliseum.
Plans for the new M&S store at Cheshire Oaks were approved by Ellesmere Port & Neston Borough Council on Tuesday, December 9.
The proposals have now been referred to the Government Office of the North West which will decide whether to ‘call in’ the scheme for further scrutiny or to give permission to go ahead.