TUESDAY’S announcement that Marks & Spencer is proposing to close stores in Darlington and Stockton led to a flurry of comments on the Echo website. Here are a selection of views

It's been on the horizon for years, 30 years ago it was the king of the High Street. That generation of shopper is now in old age, time to evolve and store closures are the way to that destination. Simply a loss for the town centre, but food halls will have a presence in retail parks.

Denial Blake

Poor location and parking at this store. Massively ageing UK population, and an IT and communications revolution are major challenges in the UK. All helped along by a policy in the UK of preventing a domestic led recovery, combined with Brexit. It's a perfect storm for traditional retailers M&S desperately needs to drive its costs down, it can't go on depending on well-to-do pensioners.

I reckon Darlington, being quite small, is ideal as a cycle town. Something similar to what the city of Utrecht has achieved in the Netherlands. I wonder if the residents would ever go for it?


All very well saying that a food hall is opening at West Park but those of us who do not have the use of a car will have to get a bus, therefore adding expense to whatever we buy there.


I am surprised they have lasted this long to be honest - unfortunately M&S have been unable to turn their clothing business round. They are successful in the food side of the business, so having a store in a high street like ours does not make sense.

Moving to a purpose built site on the edge of town does make sense where people can park and fill up their cars with food and click and collect furniture and clothes.

It is the sign of the times we are in, and retailers like M&S with large overheads, need to focus on what they are good at.


Something must be done to keep a Marks and Spencer in Darlington town centre. Cut the business rates and car parking charges as an immediate priority. I would propose the town centre store becomes food only. Food is where the sales are for M&S not in clothes. All M&S stores do well selling good quality food but clothing does not sell well. Aberdeen city centre is a good example of an M&S store - three large floors with most of the ground floor given over to food. The store is packed with customers buying food but the clothes floors are not very busy. The store makes colossal sales daily on food and in the large restaurant but not on food. It is essential the Darlington and Stockton stores are saved and made food and restaurant only.

Andy from Banchory

Something must be done. The famous Labour cry. It's market forces and people such as me who shop online, usually with next day delivery. Over £200 spent this weekend. Darlington has been a lost cause for years with no quality experience. Apart from the hospital and Truffle I haven't really been there for years. Unless you call a Taylors pie a major purchase.


Our town centre is dying! Over the last 12 years I have had a business here I have seen the rapid decline of the town centre and think maybe it’s time to close up shop and move on. Darlington Borough Council gives change of use so freely to retail units that there is no diversity. Darlington is great if you want a coffee in over 30 places to go just in our town centre, a haircut, manicure, place a bet or a night on the town. If you actually require a pair of shoes, clothing items or electrical items you’re stuck. The elderly cannot use the internet so where are they going to shop? The council should proportion the type of business uses in the town centre and even out the playing field. The Feethams complex put some family run / independent businesses at risk. Going on to see two of the corporate giants fail does not give us little guys hope.

Parking also contributes to the decline of the town centre - this an additional cost to our visitors. Why come to the town centre when you can park for free at a retail park? If you decide to come to the town for a spot of shopping, lunch and then a few drinks you can easily add an additional £3 up over to the cost - free parking at least for an hour should be offered, because let’s face it if there are no shops to visit people are not going to pay to park. It’s a vicious circle and some concessions need to be made to encourage shoppers to the town.

Emma Temple

There's a new Marks and Spencer opening at Faverdale in Darlington in August. If you fancy going you'll be better off walking , with the traffic in the area. Already bad as it is.

Push it along

That's a tragic loss for the town. M&S have slipped in the market place over recent years but even so this is a killer for Darlo. My sympathy for all the long serving loyal staff that have served M&S over the years. I hope they can look at a business plan to develop an outlet at one of the retail parks on the outskirts of town, more accessibility and parking. Shame nevertheless.

Publicity stunt

It's not council’s fault, stores are closing all over the place, people find it a lot easier to buy on line and you have a better selection.


The quality of M&S goods has deteriorated over several years and the stock carried by Darlington is dire. Ask for a size 14 and reply is: “Oh we don't have any left, it's a popular size.” So why not stock more? Followed by: “We can order it in for you.” Well actually I can do that online! Binns will be following. Since the refit the quality lines they used to stock have gone.


Shame for those who work there. What a sad indictment though on Ada Burns and DBC that yet another quality store chooses to abandon Darlington. If Darlington is the boom town that we are kept being told it is why can it not support a quality retailer like M&S. If Binns closes then there will be no real reason for those living in the West End to visit Darlington.