Fears for Northampton's Marks and Spencer's store as brand prepares to open huge outlet at Rushden Lakes

Footfall will be key to keeping Marks and Spencers in Northampton according to the borough's shadow regeneration chief.
Footfall will be key to keeping Marks and Spencers in Northampton according to the borough's shadow regeneration chief.

The shadow regeneration chief at Northampton Borough Council believes has urged townsfolk to use their Abington Street Marks and Spencer's rather than the huge new store it has planned for Rushden Lakes.

The high street giant is poised to open a 42,000 sq ft unit off the A45 on July 28, but the move has prompted fears for the future of its Abington Street store.

The Marks and Spencers store being built at Rushden Lakes.

The Marks and Spencers store being built at Rushden Lakes.

Already retailers, such as designer skatewear shop Two Seasons, are moving to the north of the county.

Shadow cabinet member for regeneration at Northampton Borough Council, Councillor Arthur McCutcheon (Lab, Headlands) said people need to keep using the town centre if they want M&S to stay, as he believes company bosses will be keeping a close eye on footfall figures along Abington Street from July 28.

He said: "It is not surprising that Marks and Spencer are opening a store at Rushden Lakes. A development of that size it would be more surprising if they didn't, to be honest.

"We will have to watch carefully with what they do with the Northampton store. I really hope Marks and Spencer stay in Northampton.

"Ultimately it will be about making sure footfall in our town centre is high."

The dual-floored new M&S store at Rushden Lakes will feature a large food hall as well as 'extensive womenswear and lingerie departments' including a walk-in bra fitting service.

It will also feature a dedicated beauty department, childrenswear, menswear and homeware departments.

The new Rushden Lakes store has created 150 jobs and plans to open with a champagne reception on July 28.

However, when retail analysts the Local Data Company (LDC) compiled a list of M&S stores they believed to be the most vulnerable in November last year, neither Northampton's Abington Street store or its Sixfields outlet were among them.

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