THE planned shift of Marks & Spencer has been welcomed by tourist chiefs and business leaders.
David McKnight, the general manager of the HMS Trincomalee Trust, believes Hartlepool’s iconic ship could receive more tourists as shoppers would be closer by.
He added: “There could be positives for us. In this part of the world, people do tend to come here by car and there is plenty of parking for them. To have M&S in this area, it would be excellent for us, although I am concerned for the Middleton Grange Shopping Centre and the impact this will have on the centre.”
Mr McKnight said M&S’s arrival across the road from the Hartlepool’s Maritime Experience would “improve the offer that we have as a destination in this part of the town”.
Colin Griffiths, a business consultant at the Stranton Business Centre in Hartlepool, believes the move could be beneficial all round for Hartlepool.
He said: “For Hartlepool, it is going to mean a bigger store which means a wider operation with very good brands that M&S does.
“From the shopping centre point of view, it could be very good if there is a major store wanting to come in and take it over.”
“That, in turn, would create a lot of jobs and money coming back into Hartlepool. If there is a department store or a major retailer wanting to move in, I can see there being some major advantages in this move. It could be good news for Hartlepool.”
Mr Griffiths added: “It is sad that the shopping centre is going to lose a big player, but on a positive note, this could bring in another retailer.”