Marks and Spencer declines Honiton meeting

No immediate return to Honiton for quality chainstore.

THE chief executive of Marks and Spencer has declined an invitation to meet with business leaders and the town council to discuss a possible return to Honiton.

But Marc Boland passed the request to his director for international, property and store development, Clem Constantine, who has said M&S will closely monitor opportunities in and around Honiton and could “revisit the situation”.

A letter, written by Mr Constantine, was read out at a meeting of Honiton and District Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Colin Wright, the chamber’s chairman, acknowledged: “There are no premises large enough for M&S in the town. They haven’t taken up the offer of a meeting.”

Mr Constantine wrote: “We deeply regret the negative feeling associated with closure but, unfortunately, at times we have no option to make these difficult decisions.

“We will, however, closely monitor development in and around your town and, if a viable opportunity arises, we will revisit the situation.”

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Trade in Honiton suffered when M&S pulled out of Lace Walk in March 2009.

High spending shoppers from Sidmouth and further afield stopping coming to the town, causing other outlets in Honiton to suffer.