Meeting with Marks and Spencer boss fails to halt closure consultation
THE HEAD of Public Affairs for Marks & Spencer travelled to Honiton last Friday to meet with members of East Devon District Council and Honiton Town Council at the East Devon Business Centre.
THE HEAD of Public Affairs for Marks & Spencer travelled to Honiton last Friday to meet with members of East Devon District Council and Honiton Town Council at the East Devon Business Centre. Afterwards EDDC's Leader described the talks as "highly constructive".The meeting with Mr Tony Ginty was arranged by EDDC Leader Councillor Sara Randall Johnson in a bid to save the M&S 'Simply Food' store in Honiton, which is on the company's closure list.As part of EDDC's effort to persuade the company to think again about the Honiton store, Miss Randall Johnson handed Mr Ginty a 200 signature petition calling on Marks & Spencer to reconsider its decision to close the shop in Lace Walk ('Save our Marks and Spencer'). Mr Ginty indicated that the decision to close 25 of its Simply Food stores, including their outlet in Honiton, had not been taken lightly, but in response to the deteriorating economic situation and the need to protect the wider interests of the business. He said it would be inappropriate to comment publicly while the statutory consultation process with the store's 33 Honiton staff is in progress. Miss Randall Johnson thanked Mr Ginty for his willingness to provide the context and rationale of the decision to close the Honiton store. She said the council would seek to ensure that the staff of Marks & Spencer in Honiton received all the practical help available to assist them through this regrettable situation. The council would also be looking for ways of working closely with the business community to ensure the continuing vitality of our coastal and market towns. She added: "I have no doubt that retail businesses in East Devon are alive to the challenges that lie ahead and we will do all we can ensure that the local policy framework in which they operate is responsive to their needs and aspirations.