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M&S Foodhall could open in New Milton

M&S Foodhall

It comes four years after M&S was previously reported to be interested in taking over the old Co-op building

One of the UK’s biggest retailers has unveiled plans to open a food store in a Hampshire town.

Marks and Spencer said it was “interested” in opening an M&S Foodhall in New Milton and would keep the local community updated “as plans progress”.

The proposed site is understood to be a former Co-op store in Station Road – the town’s main shopping street.

The Co-op building was bought by Smith Bradbeer & Co in 2017 about 18 months after the supermarket ceased trading. Smith Bradbeer & Co operates a department store on the opposite side of the road.

Bradbeers is reported to have agreed terms with a “leading national retailer” that wants to occupy the site.

An M&S spokesperson said: We are interested in bringing an M&S Foodhall to New Milton and will keep the local community updated as plans progress.

It comes four years after M&S was previously reported to be interested in taking over the old Co-op building.

Civic chiefs and business leaders welcomed the move, saying an M&S branch would give the local economy a huge boost.

Speaking at the time the mayor, Cllr David Hawkins, said he hoped the opening of an M&S store would attract a large number of extra shoppers to the town.

He added: I’m highly delighted – this is exactly what New Milton would like.

Suna King, the town council’s town development manager, added: A large proportion of people would be highly delighted if M&S came to New Milton.

M&S already has stores at Lymington and Christchurch.

The company’s Lymington branch is a former Waitrose outlet in St Thomas Street. Previous proposals to turn it into an Argos sparked a storm of protest, with critics claiming the scheme would “lower the tone”.

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