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Popular Irish M&S store to close at shopping centre in days with 57 job losses

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A POPULAR Marks and Spencer store is set to shut in just days – with 57 job losses.

The supermarket in Laurence Shopping Centre, Drogheda, will close next Friday, March 8.

M&S is closing two Irish storesCredit: PA:Press Association

Its performance was “behind the rest of our store estate”, M&S bosses said last month.

A second store, M&S Clarion Quay Simply Food on Excise Walk in Dublin, will also close in the coming weeks.

Country Director Ireland & Northern Ireland Eddie Murphy said at the time: “M&S is committed to Ireland and we have ambitious plans for growth including doubling the number of Irish-based suppliers we work with.

“Our recent Christmas trading figures show we’re heading in the right direction.

“However, we also need to modernise our business to safeguard what we have achieved.

“Shopping habits are changing, and we are shaping our store estate to focus our investment on the right stores in the right places.

“We have made the tough decision to close our Drogheda store because the shopping centre has low occupancy – requiring significant investment – and its sales performance is behind the rest of our store estate.

“We’ve shared this news with affected colleagues today and our priority now is to support them through these changes.

“We understand there will be some disappointment with our announcement, but we believe that this decision is the right one for the future of M&S in Ireland – allowing us to invest in our store estate, expand our Irish supply base and continue to build our partnership with Applegreen, whilst offering our customers exceptional value, quality, service and innovation.”

Elsewhere, all seven branches of The Body Shop closed its doors for the “last time in Ireland” yesterday.

Staff were informed via email weeks ago that the stores were closing from the 29 February, but were told yesterday they won’t be paid for the last two weeks of work.

The employees were also informed via Zoom call yesterday that they will not be paid for holidays owed or for any owed redundancy.

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It is understood that 39 staff across five stores in the Republic of Ireland are owed thousands of euro worth of wages.

The manager of the Cork-based store, who marked an end to her five years as manager yesterday, posted an emotional farewell on Linkedin yesterday and declared: “It’s a sad day for us all.”

She added: “This morning we found out with certainty that we will not be paid for the last two weeks.

“We must now go to the Government with our hands out, because of the way this has been done we are unable to undertake [other] employment for 30 days unless the Minister waives it for us.”

Last month, The Body Shop was sold to a “family office” company named Alma24 after “years of unprofitability”.

The cosmetics company said physical stores “remain a part of future strategy” but there is “renewed focus” on online shopping and wholesales.

Read more on the Irish Sun

A representative for that company informed staff that they have applied to put the Irish operations into liquidation next week.

And although the 29th was due to be the last day of sales for the store, it is understood that staff decided not to come in today after being told they would not be paid for it.

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