Led by the Board of the independent Business Improvement District (BedfordBID), in collaboration with the council’s economic development team, they hope to persuade M&S bosses the town is viable due to huge investment in Bedford.
The move follows an announcement on Tuesday to close the store, putting 68 jobs at risk.
“Millions have been invested in Bedford by those who clearly have confidence in our town,” said Christina Rowe, Director of the BedfordBID which promotes the town under the Love Bedford banner:
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> The Harpur Centre is undergoing a major modernisation which means we will have the very latest big names right bang in the middle of town.
>The Edwardian Arcade is changing with the times thanks to forward-thinking new owners who are turning it into a thriving centre for smaller independents.
> Riverside is a £multi-million leisure and residential zone just a few minutes from M&S
> Innovative local entrepreneurs are active here such as the teams behind Maysons designer menswear in their fabulous store on the High Street and the St Cuthbert’s Arcade.
> Big names like Next moved into the old Woolworth’s (in other towns the former until at still empty) and Peacocks into the former BHS.
She added: “We have new shops, cafes and services opening all the time as well as a very active arts and crafts scene, regular markets and events.
“If M&S are going to have a town centre store in any traditional county town then it ought to be Bedford which regularly bucks the trend in terms of footfall.
The Love Bedford team, backed by the T&C, has launched a campaign invitating individuals and businesses to log on to the Love Bedford link to the M&S website to make their voices heard in the corridors of power at M&S.
Go to www.lovebedford.co.uk or ring 0333 014 8555 and Choose Option 6 where a customer service handler will log your name and postcode.
“It is important that we speak with one loud voice right into the ears of those that make decisions at M&S,” added Christina who is in direct contact with the Board of M&S.
Radmila Ilic, a loyal M&S shopper said: “I will be supporting this campaign. We don’t want to lose M&S, it’s important to those of us who have shopped there for years and it’s important for Bedford. The town wouldn’t be the same without an M&S.”
Bedford Bid, which represents more than 500 companies said M&S enjoyed a successful Christmas in the town centre - as reported by the Times & Citizen, with the local store manager thanking local people for their support.