Where will I buy my knickers now? How closure of M&S Fenchurch Street will be lamented by City shoppers of all ages
The Marks and Spencer store on Fenchurch Street, on the corner of Gracechurch Street, is set to close on Friday 31 March.
The store, which has been one of the City’s remaining department stores since the closure of the nearby House of Fraser on the corner of King William Street in 2018.
Marks and Spencer said it made the decision to close the store and paid tribute to its staff
Irfan Patel, M&S regional manager, said no jobs would be lost and staff would be redeployed.
“Shopping habits are changing, so we’re rotating our store estate to make sure we have the right stores to offer our customers a brilliant shopping experience. As part of this transformation, we have announced that we will be closing the M&S store at 168 Fenchurch Street on 31 March.”
“We have reassured all our colleagues that there are redeployment opportunities for everyone in our many other stores in the local area.”
“We appreciate that this will be disappointing news for some and we would like to thank all our customers who have shopped with us in the store.
Patel said M&S would work hard to keep serving customers via its city foodhalls including “around the corner in Bishopsgate” and “our nearby M&S Finsbury Pavement store which offers customers in the City a wide range of M&S food and clothing and home products”.
Marks and Sparks in the City
But for some customers the Finsbury Pavement store, which is in the north of the City is not always as easy to get to, as the store was more central being nearer London Bridge and Cannon Street.
Shopper Stacie who is in her 30s said: “We live out of London now with no big M&S in our town so Fenchurch Street was the closest store to my husband’s office and was so hand for getting him to collect things for me.”
“He managed to get me the pretty much sold out pink and black star dress on his lunch break a year or so ago – I’m convinced it was only left in stock because there are now so many suit wearing men in their customer base.”
Another shopper, in her 40s told City A.M : “That store has been a lifeline, one of the few department stores, in fact the only one I can think of now, left in the City. It sold non-work clothes you could wear and get complimented on. You could buy most things there, from scarves through to beauty and of course Percy Pigs.”
She pointed out that many women who work full time for City-based firms tend to work from home at least three days a week.
“The thing is so many women, particularly women my age with children – who work for city companies – now work from home – it’s a sign that our purchase power is deserting the city, maybe companies need to do more to encourage us to come back .”
Children’s clothes and World Book Day dash
Louise, who lives in Hertfordshire but works for a financial information website said she would miss the store.
“I have bought my daughters’ babygros and toddler clothes and it has been a lifeline for picking up bits of school uniform and even the odd World Book Day costume.”
“I also remember when the Alexa Chung range sold out in every other store, Fenchurch Street had a well stocked range. I bought bits to wear to work and it ended up being my work wardrobe for nearly a year. I always got compliments at work when I wore pieces from the Limited Edition too.
Jodie,a web designer said: “I love Percy Pigs and the store is fabulous for being able to buy birthday cakes and presents for colleagues, it’s a lifesaver.
One woman told City A.M: “I want to be anonymous but being of a certain age they stock a certain type of underwear which is amazing, I can’t think of any other stores that do the same thing. Where will I get my knickers now?”
“Also M&S is seen as ‘old school’ but some of the underwear they offer is innovative and you can buy it in store and see it instore. That will be missed.”
Eloise Skinner, 31, a start up founder and fitness instructor said: “This store will be greatly missed – in the pre-pandemic days, it would be my go-to for lunch between meetings, or a quick stop to grab food before heading out of the city. In more recent months, it’s been a helpful place to stop by on the days I’m working nearby – once or twice it’s been a great place to pick up a replacement top for the gym when I forget to bring one with me.”