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September closure for M&S prompts search for new tenant

Feb 21, 2017

Marks and Spencer will close its Brussels store on 30 September, as work gets under way to negotiate redundancy terms for about 130 staff and find a new tenant for the premises.

The British food and fashion outlet - one of about 50 worldwide earmarked for closure - was initially due to shut up shop in May or June, according to RTBF, but unions and management agreed to delay this until after the summer sales.

Viviane Teitelbaum, the Ixelles alderwoman for commerce, said it was vital that the store did not sit empty for long. Landlord GH Group, which also owns the neighbouring Zara and Apple stores, says the adjoining shops will be consulted on who will take up residency.

RTBF reports that Uniqlo has reportedly ruled itself out. Other names doing the rounds include fashion retailers Primark and Kiabi.

Rent on the 5,000m² premises is reported to be in excess of €7m a year. Boris van Haare Heijmeijer, a partner at Cushman & Wakefield, the firm in charge of winding up the Brussels store, said: "Stores like M&S, spread over three floors, are rare in Brussels. There are potential candidates - not many, but serious ones nonetheless."

M&S made a return to Brussels in May last year after a 15-year absence. According to Brussels trade body Atrium, about 4,000 people walk past the store every day.

yttap Feb 22, 2017 09:46

Why doesn't M&S stay in Belgium? Decamp to some warehouse-type building (like the recently opened Lidl in Evere), at the end of a Metro line and with a big parking lot, rationalise it's clothes lines into one basic good quality classical line, keep its staff, keep and increase its customers, keep and expand its food department, keep and expand its home department, ... instead of shutting up shop and scuttling back to the UK. The high end, high rent location on Toison d'Or neither reflects its customer base nor its offer! M&S should get real and get a grip!

Drifter Feb 22, 2017 11:52

I agree with YTTAP. If they have chosen the classical and good quality casual line, they would have succeeded. They have said that this will be a flagship store and they concentrated on the business circles. They have other places to go, too. Food section is successful, that can stay also! Not a very wise decision!

larry Feb 22, 2017 13:55

If Primark replaces M&S, there goes the neighborhood! It would be a disaster for the image of the whole Toison d'Or shopping area.

Drifter Feb 25, 2017 18:30

The rise of Primark shows the changing economical situation in Britain. Primark used to be small low cost shop in late 80s and early 90s. How such a small chain made such a big jump and expanded itself shows the decrease in the salaries and increase in low-paid jobs. Therefore, the UK is not the country British boast anymore. And I suppose it will be worse after Brexit.

yttap Mar 1, 2017 12:05

Rise of Primark and low cost clothes? Made by low cost labour across the globe! Even M&S uses foreign low cost labour to make their products. My "Autograph" cashmere sweater is already showing pills of wool and it hasn't even been washed yet. That said, I would have to pay three times the price for one better quality cashmere sweater made in the UK! So you pays your money and takes your choice!

Drifter Mar 6, 2017 20:31

It doesn't matter where and how they are made. Everybody cannot afford expensive clothes. There are less people who can pay for expensive clothes in Britain. They want cheaper shops because they cannot afford to buy expensive ones. This is what I meant by the rise of Primark.

ASD Jan 19, 2018 11:48

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