RETAIL giant Marks and Spencer will be moving out of Newport City Centre early next year.
The Commercial Street store will be closing on Wednesday, January 16, with a new store opening in Newport Retail Park, Spytty the following day.
President of Newport Chamber of Trade, Alan Edwards, who is a partner in Vacara’s fish and chip shop in the city centre said: "This is something we’ve known about for two years but Marks and Spencer have never said why they are closing the store.
"Representations have been made to its head office in Baker Street, but have been ignored.
"It’s disappointing as far as the city centre is concerned as the Government has been sending out the message that retailers should be supporting town and city centres.
"However, it is good news for Newport in general as it will be getting a brand new store which will stock A list goods.
"Hopefully this will stop people going to Cardiff or Cwmbran to buy the top of the range products which the city centre store did not stock.
"The news can be viewed as both bad and good. The Newport Chamber of Trade has to support Newport as a whole, both inner and outer areas.
"Regeneration plans will succeed with or without M&S. It will be a tough three years while the development is underway but it will be worth it in the end."
Former president for Newport Chamber of Trade Ken Ellis said it would be a devastating blow for the town when the news was first announced and would deprive the city centre of a key retail presence.
Mr Ellis, who was for many years prior to his retirement a manager at the city’s branch of British Home Stores said he feared the city centre was in danger of being killed off.
He said: "Throughout the country, Marks and Spencer is a very important presence on the High Street and this is devastating for Newport."
M&S announced that the Spytty store will be "significantly bigger" than its existing store, and will offer a wider range of goods. About 30 new jobs will be created, with its 70 city centre staff able to transfer there.