From Keighley News, February 19th, 2018
Written by Miran Rahman
KEIGHLEY'S MP said he was told the performance of the town's Marks and Spencer's food and clothing store had deteriorated "significantly" in recent times. John Grogan was reporting back on a meeting he had with an M&S team in London, which he attended with Bradford Council leader Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe.
The meeting, which took place in the House of Commons last week, followed news that the Keighley M&S has been proposed for closure, leaving its 33 staff facing an uncertain future.
Mr Grogan added: "M&S stressed the consultation with the national representatives of the staff association was still ongoing, and urged any staff members at Keighley to make their views known through these channels.
"The M&S representatives also made clear that the performance on both food and non food at the [Keighley] store had been getting significantly worse over recent years, despite the very best efforts of the staff.
"They emphasised that all permanent staff at the store would be offered redeployment if the store closed. The company has a long lease on the store and if they moved out they would be keen to find another tenant as quickly as possible.
"Both Cllr Hinchcliffe and I argued strongly that we believed there remained a significant market for Marks and Spencer in Keighley.
"It was confirmed that Marks and Spencer have indeed been in discussion with the developer of the proposed new retail development at East Parade, Keighley.
"No final decision had been taken, but opening a Marks and Spencer Simply Food store as part of that development was a possibility.
"The company told us they are not currently opening any new stores for its clothing range, as demand is moving quickly online and to ‘click and collect’".
Cllr Hinchcliffe said: “As soon as I found out about Marks & Spencer’s plans I asked to meet them with John Grogan MP.
"We all know the significance of Marks & Spencer in Keighley and I was keen to add my voice to those who know that there continues to be a strong customer base in Keighley for their goods.
“M&S were clear that this decision was part of a wider shift in retail happening everywhere in the country, and it was not a reflection on Keighley.
"The store has been there decades, and therefore my first thoughts are of the brand’s responsibility towards the staff who work there and to the people of Keighley who have been loyal customers.”