Edinburgh M&S: Marks and Spencer urged to reconsider ‘perplexing’ closure of Leith Ocean Terminal store
A local MSP has urged M&S bosses to reconsider closing its Ocean Terminal store, branding the decision ‘perplexing’.
Ben Macpherson said he is in contact with bosses about the imminent closure of the food store on the first floor of the Leith shopping complex, which is due to shut its doors on October 29.
The company cited “changing” shopping habits as the reason behind the decision to close The Simply Food shop, one of the few remaining flagship shops at the 20-year-old centre. It follows the closure of a number of outlets at the complex including Debenhams – one of the centre's anchor stores which shut after the chain went into liquidation.
The move has sparked fears it could signal the demise of the centre despite newly approved multi-million pound transformation plans. Locals have started a campaign to save the store and launched a petition which has gained 300 signatures. Disabled shoppers have also called on the company to save the shop, which has been hailed as a ‘lifeline’ for those who need accessible food shopping in the area.
Owners The Ambassador Group, which bought Ocean Terminal in March 2021, has submitted £100 million masterplan to turn it into a "community focused” gateway to the waterfront for the local community, adding to the wider regeneration of Leith.
MSP Foysol Choudhury said the store’s closure could be the “death knell” for Ocean Terminal. But SNP MSP for the area Mr Macpherson branded comments that the closure was the ‘death knell’ of the centre ‘unhelpful’. He told the Evening News: "I can understand concerns. I was perplexed about their announcement because there’s such significant positive development here in Leith and demand for a diversity of supermarkets.
"I’ve engaged with M&S on the plans and intend to do so more. I would urge them to reconsider their position. Proposals for revamping the centre together with the completion of the tramworks and the greater activity in the Docks, with continued growth of creative industries and food and drink sectors. There are many housing developments in the local area as well as new Distillery. It’s a superb destination with a positive future so from a business sense this closure makes no sense.”
M&S has been contacted for comment.