M&S in Rugby: out with the old, in with the new - The Rugby Observer

M&S in Rugby: out with the old, in with the new

Rugby Editorial 16th Nov, 2015 Updated: 27th Oct, 2016   0

MARKS and Spencer makes its long-mooted move from the town centre to Elliott’s Field Retail Park on Wednesday (November 18) – bringing 90 new jobs to the larger store.

The new shop will become the second ‘anchor’ store at the revamped Elliott’s Field Retail Park alongside Debenhams when it opens at 10am.

M&S will end its 78-year presence in Rugby town centre when its High Street store closes on the previous day – disappointing shoppers and campaigners who wanted it to remain open or be replaced by a new M&S Food Only shop – but will bring staff from the old branch to the new.

Kay Picton, 61, has worked at M&S in Rugby for 46 years, having joined the Company when she was just 15 – and says she is excited about the move.

She said: “I’ve loved every minute of working at the M&S store in Rugby. I’ve made some very close friends with both my colleagues and the regular customers who come into the store each day.

“M&S has treated me so well over the past four decades, I couldn’t think about working anywhere else.

“In my new role I’ll be working in the Lingerie Department and I’ve even managed to increase my hours, which is something I couldn’t do before. My family and I visit the retail park regularly as it’s such a nice place to shop and I think M&S will be a great addition to the area.”

Working alongside Kay will be Julie Kidney, 47, from Rugby, who joined M&S through the company’s Marks & Start programme, aimed at those who face obstacles to finding work.

Julie said: “For the past 22 years, I’ve taken time out to look after my three children, so I was extremely worried about applying for jobs because I had been out of work for so long.

“The programme gave me the confidence boost I needed to get involved and I really enjoyed my two-week work placement. Without it, I would have really struggled to have the confidence and knowledge to jump back into full-time employment.”

Another new employee is James Matthews, a former member of the armed forces who moved to Rugby last year seeking a fresh start, but was left homeless for around three months when he became unemployed.

He got his life back on track after he was offered a position at the new store through the company’s partnership with the Job Centre Plus.

James said: “I was sleeping in Hope4’s winter night shelters across Rugby and doing volunteer work during the day.

“However, when I was told about the vacancies at M&S, I threw myself into the two-week work placement at the Rugby store and I really enjoyed being involved in a team and learning new skills.

“I was over the moon when M&S offered me a permanent job, as it meant I could finally start my new life in Rugby after 10 months of being unemployed. I couldn’t be happier.”

The 42,000 sq ft store – three times bigger than the existing branch – will feature womenswear, menswear, kidswear, lingerie and beauty departments, as well as a foodhall, a bakery and a café.

But the company has resisted calls to keep a presence in the town centre from local campaigners including MP Mark Pawsey and Rugby Borough Councillor Claire Edwards, who argued that more houses and nursing homes being built in the town centre would maintain demand.

M&S Elliot’s Field Retail Park will be open 8am-8pm Monday-Saturday and 10am-4.30pm on Sundays.

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