BIRKENHEAD MP Frank Field is demanding an urgent meeting with Marks & Spencer bosses after the retail giant announced plans to close its store in the town centre as part of a restructuring programme. 

The branch, in Grange Precinct, will shut for good in April; its 92 staff will be moved to the firm's nearby stores.

The closure is part of its programme to modernise its UK store estate to better meet the changing needs of customers.

Mr Field told the Globe: "This is hugely concerning news.

"I will be seeking a meeting, along with Wirral's other MPs, in the hope of persuading M&S to rethink their position.

"To begin with, we will be asking M&S to set out more fully why they are doing this and the cost basis for doing so, as opposed to the goodwill they will lose."

A spokesman said its other Wirral stores in Bidston, Bromborough and Heswall will remain open.

M&S Cheshire Oaks, situated 13 miles away, will serve as the retailer's flagship store in the area.

Sacha Berendji, director of retail at Marks & Spencer, said: "We're committed to transforming M&S for our customers, colleagues and shareholders.

"Stores will always be an integral part of our customer experience, alongside M&, but we have to ensure we have the right offer in the right locations.

"We believe these changes are vital for the future of M&S and we will continue to accelerate the programme, taking tough but necessary decisions, as we focus on making M&S special."

Craig Baldock, M&S Head of Region for Merseyside, Cheshire and North Wales, said: "The decision to close our store in Birkenhead town centre was a difficult, but necessary one.

"We have a great team at the store; all of them are staying with M&S and are committed to offering our customers the very best of M&S in the area."

Wirral Conservative group leader Ian Lewis said: "So much for the Leader of the Council’s billion pound plan for Birkenhead.

"Waffle and spin meets reality. It seems that Marks & Spencer are the latest store to decide that there just aren’t enough customers now, or in the future, to keep a presence in Birkenhead.

"That's what happens when the Town Hall slaps parking charges left, right and centre – it drives people away.

"We've seen it in Liscard and we're seeing it in Birkenhead."

In response, council leader Phil Davies said: "Marks & Spencer's decision to close their Birkenhead store is hugely disappointing.

"The Council continues to work with retailers and the owners of the Pyramids to plan for the long term success and investment in the town's retail centre.

"Good public transport links, £2 all day parking and plans to re-invigorate the market are positive signs for Birkenhead, and while the business community, local residents and shoppers across the borough are keen to see Birkenhead invested in and improved, Wirral Tories, again, are happy to talk our town down."

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