Gravesham Council was "amazed" by news that the Marks and Spencer store in Gravesend is proposing closure after more than 100 years of trading.

A company spokesman announced the decision today to consider shutting the shop in New Road and the council reacted strongly to the shock news with a 147-word statement. 

A spokesperson for Marks and Spencer said: “We are closely managing our store estate to ensure it is fit for the future of M&S and, after much consideration, we have taken the decision to propose the closure of our store on New Road.

"We hope the store’s customers will continue to shop with us at our new look stores in Bluewater and Hempstead Valley and on our new website, M&

"All colleagues will be offered positions in other M&S stores.”

Council statement

Gravesham Council said: "Gravesham Council was amazed by the news of potential closure of Marks & Spencer's store in Gravesend which has been part of the retail offering in town for more than a century.

"The council believes the proposal is extraordinary given the imminent regeneration of the town centre, the planned Paramount resort and the garden city scheme for Ebbsfleet - all of which have the capacity to inject massive investment, interest, footfall and business into the town.

"Now does not seem to be the time to withdraw from a town on the brink of such huge opportunities.

"Gravesham council will be making strong representations to M&S management and offering employees support in their efforts to retain the New Road store.

"We believe that there is a strong case to retain, or even expand, M&S's presence in Gravesend and will do all we can to drive that case home."

Reaction on Twitter

Twitter user @gravesendvoice told News Shopper the announcement was "not good news for the town, particularly as can't see the empty space replaced by a similar top-end store. But we can hope."

Business Editor at Kent Business Chris Price tweeted: “Absolutely massive blow for #Gravesend if the M&S store closes. The brand carries a lot of prestige. Over 60 jobs.”

The nation's favourite store for undies has recently battled to recover its former glory.

Last month the organisation's chief executive Marc Bolland revealed a 4 per cent decline in underlying pre-tax profit - this is the third successive year of decline.

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More to follow.