Work has begun to convert a former Debenhams store into a brand new Marks and Spencers in Derbyshire. However, the retail giant has remained tight-lipped about the planned opening of the new store.
The decision to leave the downtown M&S store was announced in March 2022 after months of rumored move. It has dealt a severe blow to supply in the area with one of Chesterfield town center’s largest units becoming vacant in the very near future.
The massive unit, on Ravenside Retail Park in Chesterfield, was built for Debenhams several years ago but has stood empty since the former department store collapsed in 2020. Now workers have arrived on site and l he entire retail unit has been cordoned off as work begins on the major transformation.
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Plans of what will be inside the new store or even what it will look like have not been released by Marks and Spencer. Derbyshire Live has contacted the 138-year-old retailer hoping to get some insight into the plans and we are awaiting their response.
In addition to the workers identified on site, several metal containers were delivered as well as stairs to the temporary offices that will be used during the transformation work. The project is expected to last several months, although a definitive end date and opening date for the new store has not been released.
Marks and Spencer has had a presence in Chesterfield town center for decades, but rumors of a move away from their current location have surrounded the business for many years. Once it was announced that the retailer would indeed be leaving the city center and moving to Ravenside Retail Park, a location that offers free parking and is a short walk from the store’s current location, it left businesses shocked but ultimately not surprised.
Indeed, when news of the move was announced, Simon Davidson, owner of The Cheese Factory in Market Hall, told Derbyshire Live: “I’m devastated it’s not a very good day for Chesterfield. We thought that things were improving with the renovation of the market next year but yes it will be a blow for the city centre.
“It’s a big attraction and a nice little thing for Chesterfield in the city centre.” he added.
No announcement has been made about who or what will replace Marks and Spencer in Chesterfield town center once the retail giant moves to Ravenside Retail Park.
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