The opening of the new M&S at Elliott’s Field will bring 90 new jobs to the area.
The 42,000 sq ft. store, which is three times bigger than the existing store, will offer customers an improved and wider range of products and services, and will house Womenswear, Menswear, Kidswear & Baby, Lingerie and Beauty departments.
The store will open on Wednesday November 18.
M&S Elliott’s Field Retail Park will benefit from the latest M&S design and concept features, including refreshed lighting and flooring, and will also include a 9,600 sq ft. Foodhall and an in-store Bakery, with a range of speciality breads, pastries and cakes freshly baked in-store each day.
Charlotte Hayes, Store Manager at M&S Elliott’s Field, has worked hard to ensure the right people have been recruited to complement the existing M&S employees, which will transfer to the new store.
Charlotte said: “The launch of our new store at Elliott’s Field Retail Park has given us the opportunity to recruit an additional 90 people living locally. We’ve been working closely with the Job Centre Plus to fill the roles to ensure we’re providing our customers with the very best in customer service to sit alongside the quality products we’ll be offering.
“We’ve now got an excellent team in place and I know the experience and expertise within it will shine through to make our new M&S a great place to shop.”
Recruitment for the new store started in August, and M&S has since filled all of the positions.
James Matthews, a former member of the armed forces, moved to Rugby last year to seek a fresh start, but, after a break down in employment, he was left homeless for almost three months, and was struggling to survive.
It wasn’t until James was offered a position at the new M&S store through the Company’s partnership with the Job Centre Plus that he started to get his life back on track.
James said: “I moved out of London last year to avoid the rat race and stayed with some friends. I secured some warehouse work, but after the contract ended in January, I was left without work. I was sleeping in Hope4’s winter night shelters across Rugby and doing volunteer work during the day.
“I was visiting the Job Centre each week looking for work, but as I didn’t have a car, it meant my options were limited. However, when I was told about the vacancies at M&S, I jumped at the chance to work at such a well-known company. I threw myself into the two-week work placement at the Rugby store and I really enjoyed being involved in a team and learning new skills.
“I was over the moon when M&S offered me a permanent job, as it meant I could finally start my new life in Rugby after 10 months of being unemployed. I’ve now got myself an apartment that is just a 10 minute walk from the retail park – I couldn’t be happier. I’m really looking forward to the new store opening and welcoming both our regular and new customers.”
Working alongside James will be Julie Kidney, 47, from Rugby, who joined M&S through the company’s Marks & Start programme.
The Marks & Start programme is aimed at those who face barriers to finding work, aiming to give them a confidence boost and reconnect them with their skills, before giving them work experience with one of the UK’s biggest high street retailers.
Participants complete a three-day training course ahead of a two-week in-store placement, which is followed by support from Business in the Community to help them to secure jobs.
Julie said: “For the past 22 years, I’ve taken time out to look after my three children, so I was extremely worried about applying for jobs because I had been out of work for so long. M&S’ Marks & Start programme gave me the confidence boost I needed to get involved and I really enjoyed my two-week work placement.
“The team at M&S made me feel at ease about working again, and the programme meant I could get a feel for the job without committing myself to anything permanent. As it turns out, I loved the job and I hit the ground running. I’ve since been offered a full-time position in the new store working in the Operations Department, so I’ll be helping out behind the scenes with deliveries and ensuring the shop floor is looking great at all times.
“If it wasn’t for the Marks & Start Business in the Community partnership, I would have really struggled to have the confidence and knowledge to jump back into full-time employment. I’m really excited about starting a new chapter in my life and being involved in such an exciting, new store in Rugby.”
Another Rugby local working at the new store is 61-year-old Kay Picton. Kay has been working in the M&S store in Rugby for 46 years, having joined the Company when she was just 15.
Kay said: “I’ve loved every minute of working at the M&S store in Rugby. I’ve made some very close friends with both my colleagues and the regular customers who come into the store each day.
WHowever, I’m so excited about working in a brand new environment and being able to offer customers a much larger M&S offering. M&S has treated me so well over the past four decades, I couldn’t think about working anywhere else.
“In my new role I’ll be working in the Lingerie Department and I’ve even managed to increase my hours, which is something I couldn’t do before. My family and I visit the retail park regularly as it’s such a nice place to shop and I think M&S will be a great addition to the area.”
M&S Elliott’s Field Retail Park will provide shoppers with free car parking, a food ordering service and the popular Shop Your Way service, giving customers the choice to order from the M&S catalogue in-store or online, with free next day in-store delivery and collection. Shoppers will also be able to relax in the 133-seat M&S Café and enjoy hot and cold seasonal dishes, tempting desserts, sandwiches and an extensive selection of drinks, including Fairtrade tea and coffee.
M&S Elliott’s Field Retail Park will be open between 8am and 8pm Monday – Saturday and 10am and 4.30pm on Sundays.