// Oxford Street risks becoming a “dinosaur district destined for extinction” M&S boss warns
// Stuart Machin said Oxford Street is on “its knees” and falling prey to a “tacky candy stores”
Marks & Spencer chief executive Stuart Machin has warned that London’s Oxford Street risks becoming a “dinosaur district destined for extinction”.
In a growing row with Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove over the redevelopment of the retailer’s flagship store, Machin said the famous shopping street is on “its knees” and falling prey to a “growing proliferation of tacky candy stores”.
Machin called on Gove to allow M&S to demolish its Marble Arch store and replace it with a 10-storey retail and office unit, The Telegraph reported.
M&S had secured approval from Westminster City Council and the Greater London Authority for the proposal, but Gove took control of the planning application following concerns about its environmental impact.
Machin criticised Gove’s decision, saying there were “clear sustainability benefits to our plans”.
The latest intervention comes after Gove issued an order forcing developers to put the project on hold.
It will now be referred to a public inquiry overseen by the independent planning inspector, which will present its recommendation to the government.
The process is expected to take at least six months.
Machin said: “When I walk down Oxford Street today, I see a stark reality staring back at me. One in five shops sit vacant, there is a growing proliferation of tacky candy stores and near £600,000 of counterfeit goods have been seized from hawkers this year.
“The effects of Covid have brought a street that was once the jewel of UK shopping to its knees.”