Northampton

Marks and Spencer: Northampton photo shoot causes upset

Model outside the Guildhall in Northampton Image copyright Facebook/Marks and Spencer
Image caption The shop posted the picture of the woman modelling a dress outside The Guildhall, where the borough council is based, on its Facebook page

Marks & Spencer has been criticised for using a photo of a model posing near one of its closed stores.

The retailer posted the shot of an "Insider" - employees who promote the brand via social media - outside Northampton's Guildhall on its Facebook page.

Locals were quick to point out the "ironic" location - just a three-minute walk from the boarded-up shopfront.

M&S, which plans to close 100 shops by 2022, said the closure was "vital".

The store in Abingdon Street, 321m (352 yards) from the Guildhall, closed last August after 111 years in the town.

Responding to the M&S Facebook post, one person commented there "used to be a perfectly good Northampton store" but now it was "only good enough" for a photograph.

Another wrote: "So you close the Northampton store but you'll happily use our Guildhall for promo shots?"

One user said it was "great to see M&S" in Northampton but added: "Shame your store is now boarded up."

Another person posting noted the "irony" of using "Northampton as a backdrop".

Image caption Northampton residents have criticised Marks and Spencer for using a site in the town to photograph the model as the firm has closed down its local store

An M&S spokeswoman said the model was an employee who lives near Northampton.

"Reshaping in towns such as Northampton isn't easy, and we recognise the impact it has on the community, but reshaping is vital for M&S and the 80,000 colleagues it employs," she said.

She said Northampton still had a Simply Food outlet, and there were stores in Rushden Lakes, Milton Keynes and Rugby.

Tim Hadland, of Northampton Borough Council, said M&S was "welcome any time to use photos of our beautiful town".

"The dress might well be lovely, but the Guildhall is out of this world," he said.

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