Concern Grows That M&S May Abandon Oaks Development

Store tight-lipped on plans after announcing profit fall and a string of closures


Marks & Spencer and Lidl Set to Be Oaks Anchor Tenants

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The prospect of Marks and Spencer opening in the new retail centre planned in the redevelopment of the Oaks site on Acton High Street looks more uncertain.

The company has announced that they intend to close over 100 shops over the next few years and roll back on their expansion plans. The programme of closures has already begun with the branch in Putney shutting for good recently.


Their profits have been severely impact by losses relating to the closure plan which totalled £321million in the year to March. This led to a fall in profits of over 60% with sales of food, clothing and homeware all declining.

It had previously been announced that a branch operating under the Simply Food brand would be opening in the controversial £135 million redevelopment. The scheduled opening is Summer of next year and the centre will include 178 new apartments and a new car park. Recent poor sales of new build flats in the Acton area have raised additional concerns about the viability of the scheme.

When we asked Marks and Spencer whether their plans to open in Acton remained on course a spokesperson for their PR company said, “There are no further updates today, we will update further as and when it is right to do so.“

Originally Waitrose was touted as the anchor tenant for the development which signalled the intention to change the focus of the new arcade from the discount orientation of the former Oaks Shopping Centre. However, the company announced that it had no intention of moving into the development in 2016. The following year it was disclosed by the developer that Marks and Spencer and Lidl would be taking space in the centre.

We also asked Reef Estates who are acting as an agent for the development if they could confirm Marks and Spencer still intended to take up occupancy of the shopping centre but they have yet to respond. A spokesperson for the Council said that 'to our knowledge' the opening of Marks and Spencer would be unaffected.

Chief executive Steve Rowe said on the Today programme on Radio 4, "We're assessing this on a store-by-store basis and are committed to redeploying our colleagues wherever possible."

May 23, 2018


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