Rochdale Riverside Cgi

M&S changes heart over Rochdale Riverside store

Jessica Middleton-Pugh

After announcing at the end of 2017 that the retailer would be pulling out of plans for an anchor store at Rochdale Riverside, M&S has now confirmed that it will still be occupying space within the £80m scheme.

In November, M&S revealed that it no longer intended to relocate to a 55,000 sq ft unit it had signed for in the town centre project, instead planning to remain in its Yorkshire Street unit. The news was part of a raft of other announced store closures, including in Stockport and Birkenhead.

Rochdale Council held an emergency meeting in January, and in response said that it still “fully expects M&S to honour its commitment” having signed “a legally binding contract”.

According to an M&S spokesperson, the recommitted unit will focus on M&S’ clothing and home lines.

Lisa Rogers, head of region for Lancashire and Cumbria, said: “We’re adapting our UK store estate to offer our customers better located and more inspirational environments to shop, alongside growing M&S.com. This means taking some tough decisions and constantly considering what is best for our customers current and future shopping needs. We’re still finalising the plans, but we’re pleased to be able to update the Rochdale community that we will relocate to the Riverside development. Our Riverside store will offer customers a better experience including bringing an M&S café to the town for the first time.”

The opening is expected in 18 months’ time.

Next and Reel Cinemas are also signed up as tenants for Rochdale Riverside, which will include 24 retail and leisure units, 350 parking spaces, and a six-screen cinema over 200,000 sq ft. Genr8 is the developer on the scheme, and is forward funded by M&G.

Rochdale Council leader, Cllr Allen Brett, said: “Today’s confirmation that M&S will be part of our fantastic £80m Rochdale Riverside development, despite challenging trading conditions for high street stores up and down the country, is testament to the huge potential they see in our town and its continuing transformation. Rochdale Riverside will change the face of Rochdale, bringing more top quality high street stores to the heart of the town centre.”

In recent weeks, M&S committed to a Foodhall in Chorley’s Market Walk after long-term negotiations. In 2017, the retailer pulled out of its plans for a store in Oldham, but is understood to still be discussing options for the town.

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