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M&S admit leasing Northgate Street store in Gloucester is an uphill struggle

By The Citizen  |  Posted: December 31, 2013

prime location:  The old M&S site in Northgate Street.

The old M&S site in Northgate Street.

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MARKS & Spencer bosses say they are doing all they can to lease out their former Gloucester store – but admit the task is proving to be an uphill struggle.

The former M&S store in Northgate Street has gone on the market for leasing at a rate of £300,000 per year.

It is the first time it has been marketed since the store closed down and relocated to The Eastgate shopping centre 18 months ago.

Clem Constantine, director of property for Marks & Spencer, said: "Our agents are actively marketing the unit and there have been some expressions of interest but at present we are unable to confirm any new agreement.

"Units of this age do come with many legacy costs and those have to be factored into any financial package we offer.

"It is also true that Gloucester has other empty retail space and demand for stores of this type is not huge.

"Clearly it is in our interests to let the unit as soon as possible and we are doing all we can to achieve that."

Marks & Spencer relocated into the old Woolworths store in July 2012 and their former premises has remained empty ever since.

Clothing retailer TK Maxx had been lined up as the new occupant but the plan fell through and they have since identified the site of the Eastgate Market as their ideal new home in the city.

A 10-year lease is up for grabs for any firm interested, but they will have to come face-to-face with an asbestos problem at the premises which is considered to have long dogged progress on filling the site.

Barry Leach, chairman of the Gloucester City Centre Community Partnership, said: "It is obviously good news that it is on the market. It is about time too.

"It seems a long time since TK Maxx withdrew from the picture.

"I am hoping that they are looking for a quality retailer.

"We don't want to end up with another bargain retailer in there for the next decade.

"It has been a long time since we had a new quality retailer arrive in the Gate streets but if it takes a bit longer to find another then so be it. We do, however, need to fill some of the gaps and balance out what is happening down at the Quays."

Ivan Taylor, chairman of the Westgate Quarter of traders, said he'd like to see a Waitrose set up in there.

"I think it would be an ideal site for a city centre Waitrose and I hope it's being marketed in a way that makes it appealing," he said.

"The problem is the access for deliveries, which is in St John's Lane, so maybe they would need to do something sympathetic in Northgate Street, to allow deliveries there in the early hours.

"Alternatively, it could be split into three units, but £300,000 a year is a lot, when the ground floor is the only useable bit. It needs to be a retailer who can really maximise it."

Shopper Janet Collins, 45, from Quedgeley, said: "I think it's about time we got a really good name in the city centre again, it's all bargain stores and charity shops at the moment.

"I'd like a Monsoon or Zara or maybe a House of Fraser, something like that would be great, but it's probably not the right size or location for them."

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4 comments

  • jas37  |  December 31 2013, 9:52PM

    Selina30, you seem to have missed the point that M&S have only just put the place on the Market, a new "Shop to let sign" has just appeared. And can you enlighten us as to how many other sites M&S have put on the Market recently and how quickly they were filled please Selina30.

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  • SELINA30  |  December 31 2013, 5:01PM

    Gloucester bucking the national trend again. M&S have had little difficulty elsewhere in the country.

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  • NibNobs  |  December 31 2013, 12:25PM

    It would make a pound shop to beat all pound shops. Or a Costa to beat all other Costa's? Or yet another Tesco Express?

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  • jas37  |  December 31 2013, 10:15AM

    This unit would probably be suitable for Next who have reportedly been looking for a large floor space unit in the City centre for a while now but it seems extremely likely they will open up in the King's Quarter development. Other potential tenants may also delay to evaluate the situation with King's Quarter so it possibly won't be easy to sign up a quality retailer in the short term. If some sort of major funding could be sourced it perhaps wouldn't be a bad location for a Theatre- but has anyone the vision,drive and resourcefulness to make it happen?

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