MARKS and Spencer’s town centre store in Clacton has closed its doors for the final time.

The store in Pier Avenue is shutting as part of the retail giant’s programme to reshape its estate of shops in the face of online competition.

M&S said the closure of the Clacton store was in line with the opening of its new foodhall in Walton.

Marc O’Connor, Head of Region for Essex at Marks & Spencer, said: “The decision to close our Clacton store was a difficult but necessary one.

"We’d like to thank our customers for the feedback they’ve given the team and we hope to see lots of them continuing to shop at our other stores in the local area, including our new Foodhall in Walton-on-the-Naze.”

Zoe Fairley, Tendring Council’s cabinet member for investment and growth, said she is “disappointed” the store has closed.

She said it “represents a wider change in the retail environment and an opportunity to do something different in the town centre”.

In response, the council has launched the Town Centre Working Group to look at the future of the town centre.

She added: “The face of retail is changing in this country – Clacton is not the only town losing its M&S – and we must embrace this change positively.”

The new foodhall in Arthur Ransome Way, Walton, opened on Wednesday morning.

To celebrate the opening, M&S will gave away golden tickets to the first 200 customers through the doors.

The tickets included vouchers and gift cards.

Manager, Lisa Johnson said she was “really excited” to open the new store.

The store will be open Monday to Saturday from 8am to 8pm and on Sundays from 10am to 4pm.