Forty new jobs at former M&S site

A multi-million pound contract agreeing the sale of Gravesend’s old Marks & Spencer store has finally been signed, and with it the promise of new jobs.

After weeks of legal eagles crawling over the paperwork, we can reveal it has been purchased freehold, indicating the buyer’s long-term commitment to the town.

When the 52,302 sq ft property in New Road went on the market, it was offered either with a new 15-year lease or at a freehold price of £3 million. The actual price agreed remains secret.

BANDMJOBSAfter M&S pulled out in 2014, budget store giant B&M is moving in. It employs 22,500 people at 500 outlets, with stores also in Canterbury, Sheppey and Dover. They notch up some three million customer sales every week.

A B&M spokesman said: “The store will create more than 40 new jobs for local people.

“It will undergo a comprehensive internal and external refurbishment programme. No opening date has been confirmed yet.

“We are really excited to get the doors open and welcome our new customers through.”

Commercial agents overseeing the purchase were CBRE, whose senior director James Keany Corr said this week: “This is a positive outcome for the town and for shoppers both within Gravesend and for those visiting.

“The next step will be B&M fitting out the building and that will probably take about eight to 12 weeks. I expect it will be ready to open its doors in early autumn.”

Gravesham council leader Cllr John Cubitt (Con) said: “This is great news for Gravesend. It’s really pleasing to see that B&M has made this retail commitment and I’m expecting it to have a really positive impact on the town.

“We would like to wish them good luck and look forward to when they open their doors.”

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