Marks and Spencer have confirmed that one of their flagship North East stores which has been open for decades will close later this month.

Employees of Marks and Spencer Sunderland first found out their store would be closing earlier this year on January 16 due to "changing shopping habits".

But, it has now been confirmed that the store, on High Street West in the city centre will now close for good on May 25.

When the closure was initially announced, Graham Soult, North East retail expert, wrote on Twitter: "Given M&S trends (new stores, many out of town), the closure of Sunderland's branch is not a surprise.

"But I still refuse to believe that even a food-only store in the city centre wouldn't be viable. Loyal older customers aren't going to travel to a retail park in Washington.

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"The important thing is to not let it distract from all the positive stuff that is happening in Sunderland.

"I'm not aware of M&S ever cancelling a closure after 'consultation', but if Sunderland kicks up enough of a stink you never know! There is a strong case to make."

This closure comes as a brand new M&S is set to open at the Washington Galleries on May 30 after bosses promised the Sunderland branch would not be closed until its latest store opened.