Scarborough's Marks & Spencer 'not at risk' after property sale report sparks closure fear

Scarborough’s Marks and Spencer store is not at any immediate risk of closure, the high street retailer has told The Scarborough News.

By George Buksmann
Thursday, 3rd February 2022, 9:58 am
Scarborough's Marks and Spencer store on Newborough is not at risk of closing, the high street retailer has said.
Scarborough's Marks and Spencer store on Newborough is not at risk of closing, the high street retailer has said.

Last week, reports emerged in the fashion-industry press that Fortress Investment Group, a private equity firm in the USA, was considering selling 17 Marks and Spencer stores in the UK for a reported £70m.

The announcement sparked concern that those 17 M&S stores, which is believed to include Scarborough’s Newborough outlet, were at risk of closure.

The high street giant told The Scarborough News that the town’s M&S store is not at any immediate risk of closure and that the company has not made any closure announcements.

Reports had emerged of a property sale, sparking closure fears.

The retailer explained that while Fortress is rumoured to sell the buildings which it owns, it does not affect the operations of its store.

Simply put, if the sale of the building is completed, M&S would pay their rent to a new landlord.

M&S said it is common for the buildings they operate within to change hands during their tenancy.

Fortress, which also owns Majestic Wines, first acquired the stores from Topland Group, another private property and investment firm, in 2016.

The deal reportedly cost £450m for 76 stores, including Scarborough’s.

In March last year, Marks and Spencer revealed plans to downsize the number of its stores selling both food and clothes by 30 per cent to 180 outlets.

In a huge blow to Scarborough’s high street, Debenhams closed its doors for good in May last year.

The Brunswick lost its anchor tenant after the 244-year-old retailer announced in January last year that all of its stores would close and it would continue online.