The fit out of a vast 150,000 sq ft new flagship Marks & Spencer store – at the heart of one of the UK’s largest regeneration projects in Longbridge – is making good progress, on programme.
The two–storey unit, which will be the Midlands’ largest M&S store, is being fitted out by main contractors McLaughlin & Harvey. The store is the anchor for the second phase of the multi-million pound regeneration of Longridge town centre.
Mark Fruin, the new store manager said: “Round about Christmas 2015, there’ll be 150,000 sq. ft. more M&S in Longbridge than there was before! This will be a regional centre, and it’ll have all the features you’d expect. So for example – there’s a 250-seat café that includes a heated balcony for a bit of al fresco dining. Plus we’re putting in a Babyworld, a delicatessen bar, a nail bar and the full range of M&S home furnishings.
A McLaughlin & Harvey site manager on the project told Premier Retail:
“The ground floor is split into two parts – one of which is general merchandise including items such as women’s clothing and footwear, with the second part being a food hall including a bakery and a delicatessen.”
Works to the whole of the ground floor include spray painting the ceiling, installing 3m high laminate panels on the walls, laying ceramic tiled flooring, and the installation of track lighting throughout, including pendants in certain key areas.
Within the merchandise area, the bulk of the space is taken up with women’s clothing, and two fitting rooms are being installed in this area.
In the food hall, the fit out includes the installation of fridges and shelving, and the installation of partitioning for the bakery, as well as the bakery equipment.
Works on the first floor include the fitting out of a menswear area, the formation of staff offices complete with furniture and computers, a fully equipped staff canteen and toilets, and the creation of a customer cafe complete with kitchen. Additional works include the installation of laminate wall panels, lighting, ceramic flooring and suspended ceilings.
The works also include the installation of all new signage throughout the store, as well as external signage.
One of the more challenging elements of the project for the contractors was the sheer scale of the scheme, requiring the co-ordination of around 130 operatives currently on site.
“The 18 week fast track project is going very well indeed and is on programme and due for completion in early November 2015. The client is happy and we are too,” said the Harvey & McLaughlin site manager.
He added: “We received the building in a shell state and will leave the store ready for Marks and Spencer to commence operation.”
Andrew Scanlan, Head of Central West Region at M&S said:
“M&S Longbridge will be one of our largest stores in the country and will offer the latest and best in M&S products. Its vibrancy, connectivity and diverse, growing population makes Longbridge the perfect destination for M&S.”
Julie Ridley, Regional Manager at Marks & Spencer, added:
“This is a major investment and our long-term lease shows our commitment to the area and the Longbridge regeneration project. We are already excited about welcoming shoppers to the store.”
Mark Fruin concluded:
“I’m proud of the role M&S has played at the heart of this community in Longbridge. As a business, we’ve wanted a site like this for years, so everyone is delighted that the West Midlands will have a store of this quality so conveniently sited in South West Birmingham. I just can’t wait to open the doors and welcome the customers.”