Jobs created by new Chichester Marks and Spencer’s stores

Marks and Spencer's store manager Brian Butcher in the new cafe and food hall.
Marks and Spencer's store manager Brian Butcher in the new cafe and food hall.

Eighty-five jobs will be created with the revamp of Marks and Spencer’s stores in Chichester.

Eighty-five jobs will be created with the revamp of Marks and Spencer’s stores in Chichester.

The high-street chain confirmed dozens of much-needed roles would be created with its multi-million revamp of its East Street and North Street sites in the city.

With the first phase complete, its East Street location now has a new coffee shop and, larger contemporary-styled aisles which management believe will enhance the overall shopping experience for customers.

Although traders have benefited from increased shopping activity during the Festival events, the city has been far from immune from recessionary pressures on store sales. The expansion of M&S has been seen by the city-centre management as a welcome development to the retail mix.

The North Street store enhancements are expected to be completed by November, involving an expansion of the existing womenswear range into the adjoining retail space formerly occupied by Top Shop. This will allow it an additional 8,000 square feet, creating a far more open-plan design.

As part of the first phase of the revamp, the store in East Street held an opening event yesterday, with shoppers experiencing the enhanced facilities.

Manager Brian Butcher expressed his thanks to customers. He conceded the stores had lost a degree of trade during the disruption, but felt the long-term gain would outweigh this.

He said: “This is a multi-million-pound investment in our stores across both sites and we believe this will make it a better shopping experience for our customers.

“This includes the new coffee shop which now has seats for 114 customers and the feedback we have had so far from it has been phenomenal.

“We would just like to thank customers for putting up with us while the work has been going on these past five months as the majority of people have stuck with us.”

“I’d also like to thank my team here who have all worked really hard to get it to this point,” added the manager, who felt the previous layouts, dating back more than 25 years, were past their sell-by date and in need of updating.

There have been improvements to the menswear section upstairs as well as newly installed toilet facilities – the latter having attracted particularly strong comments from shoppers who heavily criticised the former ‘stalls’.

Speaking about the development recently, city-centre manager Kim Long felt it was a welcome addition.

She said: “It’s brilliant, what they are doing is really positive news. They have had their eye on the store next door from the moment Topshop started going. It’s absolutely positive for the community.

“I think we should be proud they are investing in their stores.”