CHRON COMMENT: Let's not mourn the loss of M&S in Northampton... let's back our traders

Marks & Spencer could be leaving the town. But let's not despair. The town has plenty of independent shops to enjoy.
Marks & Spencer could be leaving the town. But let's not despair. The town has plenty of independent shops to enjoy.

Times like this need to galvanise us as a town.

That’s what the boss of Northampton’s town centre Business Improvement district told the Chronicle & Echo this week after learning Marks & Spencer was on the brink of pulling out.

Two big name players M&S and BHS may be leaving the town - but let's not hold a funeral for our high street.

Two big name players M&S and BHS may be leaving the town - but let's not hold a funeral for our high street.

The future of the town’s Abington Street store and its 96 employees was plunged into doubt last Tuesday when M&S bosses included the anchor outlet as one of 14 it proposed to close.

With the loss of BHS last year and continuing uncertainty over the future of the Debenhams brand, it would be tempting to throw in the towel and admit defeat.

But this week, we don’t intend to hold a funeral for our high street.

After all, we are the town of Sir Charles Bradlaugh, the town of Walter Tull – we have a history of fighting for what we believe in.

So we are urging the good people of Northampton and our local authorities – not to let our high street dwindle.

We want you to say that if Marks & Spencer leave its digs on Abington Street, ‘so be it’.

Here in Northampton, we have a thriving mix of independent shops, boutique fashion stores and cultured cafes the envy of other like-sized market towns.

But they need your help to survive.

If high street giants such as M&S are struggling against the rise of online shopping then it stands to reason the smaller retailer is having an equally hard time.

So this week we are launching our bid to encourage our readers to shop local.

And in order to help you, over the course of June we will be profiling a number of the independent businesses that make up the heart of Northampton.

It’s a simple concept, but one we hope you will get behind.

Our hope over June is to shine a light on those independent stores, tucked away in arcades or side streets many of you may not realise exist.

Head to our website throughout today to read about three such independent stores – why they have succeeded, what they offer and why you should support them.