MARKS and Spencer has told Falmouth MP Sarah Newton that it won't abandon the town forever but says there is little hope that the current store will stay open.

Mrs Newton met with with senior representatives from M&S today to discuss their proposed closure of the Falmouth branch.

Following the meeting she said: "Whilst M&S are currently consulting on the possibility of closing the store and are yet to make a final decision, I think that it is unlikely that they will decide to keep it open. However, this process will take some time and I do not believe this closure will take place imminently.

"I have been contacted by many local people about this issue and do understand how difficult this time is for M&S employees, and how concerning it is for other businesses in the town who rely on footfall generated by the shop.

"I have asked M&S to ensure that they make every effort to lessen the impact of the store closure on their employees. They have told me that they will offer to relocate as many employees as possible to Truro and minimise the loss of jobs.

"Many local people have told me that they would like to see M&S open a “Simply Food” store in Falmouth. I raised this possibility with the company who informed me that they would consider this option should a suitable location be found.

"Having discussed the required specifications with the senior representatives I will be working with the Falmouth Town team to identify possible locations. I will convene a meeting between the town team and representatives of M&S to enable us to discuss the potential for a “Simply Food” store when we have completed our search.

"Searching for a suitable location for a “Simply Food” store will not be straightforward. I am pleased that during the meeting I was able to secure the commitment from M&S that they will not abandon Falmouth forever."

Last week M&S announced that the Falmouth store was under treat of closure with the loss of 60 jobs.