CAMPAIGNERS who launched a petition calling for Marks and Spencer to save its town centre store in Clacton have been told the decision will not be reversed.

The retail giant has earmarked the town’s Pier Avenue store for closure early next year.

Clacton Town Partnership said the closure will be a massive blow to the town centre and shopper Leeza Crampton, from Clacton, launched a petition, calling on M&S chief executive Steve Rowe to reverse its decision to axe the store.

In response, Kimberley Horner, head of M&S’ UK retail store estate programme, said the retail market is undergoing a “huge structural change” due to online competition and that the company has had to make tough decision, including closing stores in towns that it has traded in for a long time.

She added: “In Clacton, our store is small and unable to provide the sort of offer and shopping experiences we want for the future of M&S.

“The age of the building also means that it requires significant investment and given the performance of the store we are unable to justify this.

“The link to Walton-on-the-Naze is largely one of timing.

“A new food store in Walton was already in progress and the decision to close Clacton is independent of this.

“We have chosen to link them in order to ensure we can protect as many jobs as possible.

“We are continuing to look at other options for Clacton and whilst the decision to close the current store won’t be changed.”

M&S previously told the Gazette it would be closing the Clacton store in line with the opening of its new food hall in Walton.

Clacton Town Partnership chairman Graham Webb said: “The response from M&S says what we expected them to say.

“While it is great to hear they are still interested in Clacton, almost certainly now that would be an out-of-town offer.

“That is exactly what our town centre does not need.”