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Possible silver lining following Marks & Spencer decision to leave Great Yarmouth town centre

PUBLISHED: 06:30 28 July 2014 | UPDATED: 10:21 28 July 2014

The Marks and Spencer store in the town centre in Great Yarmouth which is closing and moving to the out of town Gapton Hall Retail Park.

Picture: James Bass

The Marks and Spencer store in the town centre in Great Yarmouth which is closing and moving to the out of town Gapton Hall Retail Park. Picture: James Bass

Archant Norfolk © 2014

The “disappointing” news that council bosses cannot convince Marks & Spencer to stay in Great Yarmouth town centre has been balanced by a suggestion the new out-of-town store could eventually bring more jobs to the borough.

The unexpected news that M&S was leaving town after more than 100 years to open a Simply Food store and 50-seat cafe on Yarmouth’s Gapton Hall Retail Park was met with consternation earlier this month.

On Friday, Great Yarmouth Borough Council leaders met company bosses in a bid to find out why they were moving.

Council leader Trevor Wainwright said, while “still disappointing”, he had been assured it was a “purely commercial” decision.

“We do understand their reasons,” he said. “It’s not unique to Yarmouth, in some areas they are pulling out of towns completely. They explained that footfall had been steadily dropping and that basket spend was down.

“It’s still disappointing but jobs have been saved and they said that, if it’s a success on Gapton Hall, it could mean more jobs.”

M&S, which owns the large two-storey unit in King Street, is already looking for a tenant to move in after they move out in January next year, added Mr Wainwright.

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