Marks and Spencer’s Craigavon store ‘on track’ say firm

The B&Q site.
The B&Q site.

Marks and Spencer confirmed today they are going ahead with their Craigavon Food Hall despite store closures in the UK.

There had been speculation locally that the proposed Food Hall at the former B&Q building may be ‘on pause’.

But a spokeperson for Marks and Spencer insisted that is not the case and plans for the new Food Hall are still ‘on track’.

In September Marks and Spencer chief executive Steve Rowe visited Northern Ireland to celebrate the firm’s 50th anniversary here and announced opening a new store in Craigavon.

The new Food Hall at Craigavon’s Marlborough Retail Park is expected to attract around 80 new jobs to the area.

Around 100 jobs are due to be created during its construction.

And the 7,400 sq ft Marks and Spencer Food Hall will also be home to a cafe.

The group, which has 21 stores in Northern Ireland, said it would further “reshape” the clothing and home arm to focus on the most successful locations, while also driving more online sales.

Marks and Spencer recently opened its latest foodhall at a filling station forecourt close to Belfast International Airport.

The chain has 20 stores in the province, with the food hall at its Sprucefield store claiming the highest food sales of any M&S in the UK.

Mr Rowe, who has been in the top job for over a year, said: “We’re adding about 200 jobs in Northern Ireland, which is a continuation of our success story here.

“Some of our largest market shares are here in Northern Ireland - including our second-largest food market share,” he said.

The chain announced the closure today of eight stores across the UK with close to 500 jobs affected.