Next chapter for former M&S as B&M comes to Bedford town centre

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The former M&S building has been empty since May 2019

The former M&S building on Midland Road will be brought back to life later this year as B&M open their first town centre store.

Working together with M&S and B&M, the deal was managed by Bedford-based commercial property specialist, Patrick Harnan of Harnan Real Estate who acted on behalf of the owner of the property.

It will see M&S clear out the unit by the summer. B&M will take the significant majority of the space and aim to open before Christmas.

B&M is one of the fastest-growing UK retailers, with an average of four million customers a week to their 600 stores.

“This is great news for the town,” said Patrick. “Reorganising the use of the building to suit B&M wasn’t easy, but in the end the deal came together fairly quickly thanks to the willingness of B&M to have a presence in Bedford town centre and the agility of a local owner happy to invest in the town.

“It proves that retailers see Bedford as an attractive prospect and with the right conditions, strong ownership and a bit of creative thinking, other important buildings in the town centre can be reinvented in a variety of ways.”

Helen Patterson, who fronted the Save M&S campaign and has gone on to run Bedford Town Centre Champions said the change of symbolic of the changing retail landscape.

“Whilst I’m excited to see a prominent town-centre shop being occupied again, it’s a sign of the times that one of our flagship iconic buildings will be home to an ‘off price’ retailer.”

Nearby businesses, which lost footfall following the closure of M&S, have welcomed the news.

Siobhan Moriarty-Jones, owner of Cavalier Club Barbershop said: “Shopping has changed and stores like B&M are such a big pull.

“We hope that it brings back the demographic of older and passing clients that we lost due to the sad closure of M&S.

“It’s time for Bedford’s rebirth and we can’t wait to see what that will mean for business growth.”