THE Marks and Spencer store in Poole will definitely be closing, the retail giant has confirmed, despite calls from residents to remain open.

Consultation with employees remains ongoing but the store - which first opened its doors in 1971 - has been confirmed to close in January.

The news comes as a ‘massive disappointment’ to one of Marks and Spencer’s biggest supporters, Tricia Hercoe, whose petition to save the store gained more than 3,600 signatures.

The Poole resident who is lovingly known as ‘Mrs M&S’ started the petition last month in a bid to save the store from closure.

Tricia said: “I’m very disappointed and I’m sure the people of Poole will be very disappointed.

Bournemouth Echo:

Tricia Hercoe

“I’ve had a lot of comments that people can’t go to Castlepoint because it’s just too far. People are just expected to go online but not everybody can do that.

“People are going to feel very let down by Marks and Spencer.”

“I expect M&S already had their minds made up. At the end of the day, it’s a business and if it’s not making money then they’re going close. It’s not rocket science.

“I just thought it was worth it and I’m not sorry I did it even though it was a bad outcome but it got people thinking.

“I just think it’s sad that they're closing.”

Still a loyal Marks and Spencer fan, Tricia said: “I mean there’s been a lot of bad comments about Marks and Spencer over the weeks since this has been going on and I’ve tried not to rise to those because I think they’re still a lovely store.

“I shall still shop there, but online, and I might occasionally go to Castlepoint. But if I go to visit anywhere that’s got a Marks and Spencer, that will be the shop I make for.”

An official closing date is yet to be set, though the department store has said shoppers can expect the Dolphin Centre M&S to close in January.

A spokesperson for Marks and Spencer said: “Consultation with colleagues at our Poole store is ongoing, but the store’s closure has been confirmed as part of this and we would expect the closure to happen in January 2022.”