The possible closure of Bedford’s Town Centre Marks & Spencer has created a wave of support for the high street shop that’s been a favourite of Bedford shoppers for many years.
Now one Bedfordian has created a campaign to ‘put the spark back into marks’, in the hope it will show M&S bosses that closing the Bedford Town Centre store will be a missed opportunity to revitalise their Bedford profits.
Campaigner, Helen Patterson, explains: “Like many I was very sad to hear the news that our Bedford town centre M&S was amongst those earmarked for closure. I believe that simply closing this store will be a missed opportunity for M&S and they can keep this store open.
“I want to help show them that if they listen to what Bedford people need, they’ll actually find that the apparent profit loss they’re experiencing here can be overturned.”
Helen, who has a background in performance marketing and business development, says that M&S don’t need to simply turn their back on Bedford: “Looking at the reaction a lot of people have said that there are many M&S products they need to buy that are just not available in the store. They’d buy them if they were.
“This is not about telling M&S how to do their job but more showing them how Bedford wants to support them. By listening to our feedback, they need not simply shut-up-shop, they can actually provide what’s needed and get the business they need to keep this store open.”
In response to the news there have been several key concerns people have raised:
- Elderly shoppers and those without cars who use public transport to get into Bedford and can’t get to an M&S store away from our town centre
- The availability of school uniform for young families
- The multiple duplicate products that are on offer, many customers say with a wider range of products they’d shop there more
- The M&S café is not just a place for refreshment but has been a community hub and meeting place for many shoppers for many years
The Bedford Independent is 100% behind Helen’s campaign and now calls on our readers to support Helen and show M&S bosses what they could miss out on.
“Bedford has recently been bucking the national trend in high street sales,” says managing editor Paul Hutchinson, “Where footfall has fallen in other towns, it’s increased in Bedford, so M&S do have the market they need.
“Helen’s campaign will help show M&S bosses directly how strong Bedford can be when they come together as a community.
“We are sure shoppers, town leaders and neighbouring business owners will join with Helen to show M&S bosses that their business should have a permanent place in our town centre.”
Helen now hopes to write an open letter to M&S which includes a collection of ideas for bosses to consider during their consultation and is signed by as many people as possible.
If you’d like to add ideas to the letter and follow her campaign, head to her Facebook page at www.facebook.com/putthesparkbackintomarks
Speaking about the proposed closure, Calum Telford, M&S Head of Region for East Anglia, said: “Proposing to close our Bedford store has been a difficult decision. Over the coming weeks we will be consulting with colleagues on an individual basis and discuss what is best for them.”