Will St Albans Marks & Spencer open at The Quadrant?
PUBLISHED: 12:00 01 December 2017
Danny Loo Photography 2017
A long-anticipated Marks and Spencer may not open on the former site of a St Albans pub after all.
St Albans district council (SADC) gave permission to demolish troubled pub The Baton near Marshalswick’s The Quadrant and replace it with a block of flats and an M&S in 2015.
When construction finished and the chain did not set up shop, rumours circulated about the fate of the space.
Last month the supermarket released its half year financial results, confirming that only the highest profit food-type shops will continue to be in its portfolio. This includes current and future stores.
M&S will not confirm if The Baton store will open or be abandoned by the chain.
Chief executive of M&S, Steve Rowe, said: “We recognise now that we face stronger headwinds in food which will be addressed in the year ahead.
“The business still has many structural issues to tackle as we embark on the next five years of our transformation, in the context of a very challenging retail and consumer environment.
“Today we are accelerating our plans to build a business with sustainable, profitable growth, making M&S special again.”
Premium customers becoming more value savvy is the reason behind the U-turn: “We have already sharpened prices in core categories and will be taking further steps to bring out value in our ranges. We will increase the pace of relevant innovation, step change our availability and ranging, and continue to develop our Foodhall proposition.”
As part of a shake-up after disappointing profit margins, M&S last year announced 30 UK store closures and a cut back on clothing over the next five years - but planned to open 200 food outlets.
Before that decision was made, the supermarket had seen five years of a slump in their clothing line.
There are 14 flats above the retail space which have been bought by one land-lord from the South East. They will be on sale in the new year.
Earlier this year, a prankster fooled Marshalswick residents by sticking up a fake McDonald’s sign in the window at the former pub site. It elicited an angry response from Facebook commenters.