Edinburgh M&S: Ocean Terminal Marks and Spencer closing date confirmed as locals start petition against the 'shock' decision
M&S has confirmed that its Ocean Terminal store will close its doors in just four weeks, but locals have launched a petition in a bid to save the shop.
A spokesperson for M&S told the Evening News they will close the store on October 29, after first announcing the decision last week.
Bosses cited ‘changing shopping habits’ as the reason behind the move, which has prompted concerns from local residents and an MSP over what it could mean for the revival of the complex.
It has been branded as the “death knell” for the centre by MSP Foysol Choudhury.
Ocean Terminal stressed that the closure would not impact on redevelopment plans and stated they are ‘actively pursuing’ alternative food retailers for the site.
But it has not yet been confirmed what shop will take on the lease or when they will open.
Campaigners have called on M&S chiefs to reconsider, warning that it will be a devastating loss to shoppers, particularly those with mobility issues. One man described the store as a ‘lifeline’ to him and others with disabilities.
The £100m redevelopment plans for the shopping centre, which currently houses a VUE Cinema, Boots, Starbucks and H&M among others, will also see the vacant Debenhams store demolished.
Under the plans approved on Wednesday, September 22 a northern section of the centre on Ocean Drive will be bulldozed to make way for a hotel, shops, restaurants and a mix of leisure, retail and business uses.
Owners Ambassador Group said the complex requires ‘significant changes’ to keep up with rapidly shifting retail environment.
Now local residents have started a petition in a bid to stop M&S becoming the latest casualty at the complex, which has seen the loss of anchor store Debenhams, Schuh and several other brands.
Responding to the residents' campaign, Foysol Choudhury MSP said: "I fully support my constituents in their efforts to appeal this shock decision to close the M&S store in Ocean Terminal.
"This store is a lifeline for many of my constituents and will be a huge loss, particularly for those who have limited mobility and benefit from the current amenities.
"With the tram set to arrive before long and housing built nearby, this decision seems short-sighted.
"Closing this M & S store would not only damage Leith in the long-term but it would be a terrible loss to my constituents who rely on this shop and its amenities day in and day out.
"I am arranging a meeting with Marks & Spencer and will ask for an urgent review of this decision, on behalf of all my constituents."
In the last two years, M&S has opened two of Scotland’s first new look Foodhalls at their Edinburgh Gyle and Straiton stores.
A spokesperson for Ocean Terminal said: "There remains buoyant demand to have a really strong food retail offering at Ocean Terminal for the local community. We have been in
discussion with leading supermarket brands to ensure that the right offering is put in place in an expanded space moving forward."