THE closure of Marks and Spencer has signalled the end of an era for Barrow town centre after serving customers for more than a hundred years.

M&S in Dalton Road officially closed its doors for the final time yesterday to the dismay of dozens of Barrow shoppers.

Customers flocked to the central retailer to buy goods on the store's last day of trading after 109 years.

One shopper said: "It's a really sad day for the town. I can't get to the new store in Ulverston so won't be able to shop there anymore."

Janice Jackson said: "It's such a shame especially for the older generation who shop there every week and wont be able to get to Ulverston. I cant believe they're not opening a food outlet in Barrow - there would be a demand for it, I would have thought, more so than in Ulverston."

Linda Edwards said: "It's the end of town shopping as we know it. There's not many shops left. Older people are not into internet shopping, many don’t have a clue about it.

"It’s okay saying we can deliver, but if you have no access to buy, you exclude a lot of people."

M&S confirmed in January last year that the Dalton Road store was being earmarked for closure with the loss of 57 jobs.

The news was announced to audible gasps from councillors at a meeting of the Barrow Local Committee in the town hall.

Since 2018 when M&S first announced it was planning to close a number of high street stores many in Barrow suspected the Dalton Road outlet was likely to be a victim of the downsizing.

The store has had a long history in Barrow having first opened as a Penny Bazaar in 1911.

An M&S spokeswoman said: “We understand the M&S Barrow closure may be disappointing for some in the local community, however today we are opening our brand new M&S Foodhall at the Beehive Business Park in Ulverston just a short drive away.

“Most colleagues have transferred to M&S Ulverston and we all hope to see lots of familiar faces at the new store.”

The new M&S Foodhall at the Beehive Site in Ulverston is due to open to shoppers today after an eight month delay.

Store Manager, Simon Craig, has worked at M&S for 36 years and said: “My team and I are really excited about our new store in Ulverston. When open we’ll be working hard to provide outstanding service and help make every penny count for the community.

"We’re really looking forward to welcoming the community and, when open, our store will have measures in place to reflect the latest guidelines, to ensure everyone can shop safely and with peace of mind.”