M&S Aldershot to close

M&S Aldershot  to close

M&S Aldershot to close

Marks & Spencer is to join a growing list of High Street retailers to pull out of failing Aldershot town centre.

If nothing else, it explains why the broken front door has not been fixed.

M&S is not a social enterprise, it is a capitalist enterprise. It is a failing retailer.

It has no interest in Aldershot other than what money it can extract.

Why should it consult? The local council does not consult, why therefore expect Big Business to consult?

A simple rational decision will have been taken. Is the store losing money, or not making enough money? If yes, it will be closed.

A highly misleading headline in the local comic, the usual shoddy journalism. Jobs are not at risk. Jobs are being offered elsewhere. Whether same hours, same salary, convenient to get to, is a different matter. In terms of work locations, Guildford far more pleasant town to work than Aldershot.

For the local council to describe as a ‘bolt out of the blue’, only shows how out of touch with reality the local council.

The surprise is not that M&S Aldershot is closing, the surprise is that it did not close years ago.

Let us assume for a moment, no M&S in Aldershot. Would they open in Aldershot? A resounding no. They would take one look at a run down town, and walk away. Tacky fast food outlets, pound shops, gambling joints, little footfall on the street, the demographic of those on the streets, all are reason why M&S would not open in Aldershot.

The decision of M&S to close is a massive vote of no confidence, not only in Aldershot, but also the local council. It is also what local people have been doing for years, voting with their feet and going elsewhere.

Aldershot (and Farnborough) have suffered decades of bad planning decisions.

Wastegate, draws the centre of retail gravity away from the town centre. The net result is shops like M&S close.

That an unwanted urban development, with all the stress on the local infrastructure is taking place nearby, does not mean people will go into Aldershot. If they have the means, they will do as everyone else does, go elsewhere.

Is M&S Aldershot closure a one off, or part of a wider restructuring by M&S?

The closure of M&S, will give people one less reason to shop in Aldershot. It will be M&S Guildford or Waitrose Farnham.

£4.5 million is in the main being poured down the drain in Aldershot.

We have lost the mature trees in Union Street.

The work in the High Street and Grosvenor Road a complete waste of money.

Buses and lorries now have great difficulty in entering Grosvenor Road.

Grosvenor Road was only resurfaced last summer. Now being dug up, the pavement widened. Why, there is nothing in Grosvenor Road, no footfall.

One plus of the work, is that Union Street has been closed for over six months, traffic free. A more pleasant environment, more people on the street late afternoon. And yet there are no plans to make Union Street permanently closed to traffic.

There is a need to build a lorry bay at the back of 99p Stores (former Woolworth) to enable lorries to park and deliver to the shops by handcart.

There needs to be a pedestrian crossing across Grosvenor Road connecting Upper Union Street to Union Street.

All these measures, which would make positive improvement to the town centre environment, are known to the council, councillors, town centre manager.

Why are they not being implemented?

The Galleries sits empty. It should never have been built. Yet another example of crass planning decisions by a dysfunctional council with no understanding of town centre planning.

A lot of hand wringing, hot air, but no realistic solutions.

The Galleries sits empty. Well not quite, walk past WHSmith and find TechStart. A social enterprise that renovates old computers.

And that gives a clue to what could be done with The Galleries. A network of mutually supporting social enterprises, open co-ops, run by volunteers serving the local community, retaining and recycling money within the local economy.

Open a social enterprise restaurant, take in produce that would otherwise be destroyed, turn into delicious meals, pay what you want. Better than food banks as lacks the stigma, and better quality diet.

Social enterprise cafes are springing up across the country. Run by volunteers, they intercept food waste and turn into delicious meals on a pay-what-you-can-afford basis. Even if people pay nothing, they stop the food going to waste, and they may wish to give something back by helping out. Better than food banks as without the social stigma and do not require referrals and far more nutritious diet. Food banks isolate people from society, social enterprise cafes draw people back in, provide them with a role.

Open a FabLab, expertise, machines to use. In Barcelona, the intention is to have a FabLab in every district of the city.

A swap shop. Tools to use.

A repair shop, where people can take literally anything and learn how to repair.

Starter units for small businesses to try out an idea. Start-ups, six months to try out an idea (possibility of an extension),  build up a customer base. The pop up shops in Aldershot were a farce. What can anyone do with two weeks? Which is why all they had was tat.

Community Shop. Stock on sale at a third of what you would normally pay. A community supermarket is looking for new locations. Aldershot is ideal.

The businesses and enterprises would network, support each other, many would overlap.

It would require peppercorn rents. If the property company refuses to play ball, serve a Compulsory Purchase Order.

Council is aware, has done nothing to pursue.

The Saturday market has proved to be a disaster. There was no consultation with either stallholders, retailers or people on the street. Last Saturday, half a dozen stalls if that, few people on the street. At the end of the day, the fruit and vegetable stall left with unsold produce.

The markets are seen as a council cash cow, rather than what is best for the markets, what is best for the town centre.

Writing in the latest issue of the local council comic Arena (Summer 2015), the leader of the council claims the Saturday market a success.

Both our town centres have also been boosted with the addition of a Saturday market in Aldershot and a Sunday market in Farnborough, with preliminary results encouraging.

So encouraging, stallholders are already pulling out and others considering their position.

Does he believe his own lies? Or does he think the public are stupid?

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4 Responses to “M&S Aldershot to close”

  1. Iain Says:

    While I do agree with some of your comments about the current state of the town centre, you still seem to be addicted to bashing Westgate, despite the never-ending numbers of people who are quite willing to spend their money there week in, week out, for over two years now.

    As for the reason behind M&S closure, the answer is already provided in the story that you link to, and for once it does appear to be an irrational decision – rather than losing money, they are able to supply discount clothing stock, so rather than finding alternative sources of discounted stock, or changing the format of the store, they are looking at closing it completely.

    PS – it is also not a failing company – their annual profits have risen for the first time in four years.

  2. keithpp Says:

    From the viewpoint of M&S, Aldershot is a failing store, that is why they are closing

    If it was a question of restocking, they would restock.

    The very fact it is used for dumping stock they cannot sell, itself says a lot about Aldershot.

    The service on the food side is appalling, though that is not unique to M&S. Produce is often rotting on the shelves.

    The only surprise about the closure is that it did not hapen years ago.

    M&S in Aldershot is an anachronistic anomaly.

    M&S is a struggling retail chain.

    Wastegate is killing the town that is why retailers call it Wastegate.

  3. keithpp Says:

    There is an on-line petition calling upon M&S to think again and not close M&S Aldershot.


  4. keithpp Says:

    Officially confirmed M&S Aldershot to close

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