A NEW Marks & Spencer at Mayflower Retail Park will employ 60 people, it was revealed yesterday.

The Simply Food store, which is replacing MFI which closed over a year ago, will have a 50-seat cafe, and an in-store bakery.

Refreshments, including Fair-trade tea and coffee served by trained baristas, will also be available as well as cards, gift wrap and flowers.

The 9,000 sq ft store, scheduled to open on October 18, is a stone’s throw from the 98,000 sq ft Tesco Extra store on the retail park.

Malcolm Buckley , Basildon Councillor for Regeneration, said he welcomed the new jobs the store would provide.

“More employment is clearly a good thing and it is good to have more competition in an already busy area. “It is positive for the borough that a big company like Marks and Spencer feels it can invest in the area.”

Mr Buckley said he was initially concerned the new store would take business away from the M&S in Basildon town centre, but as this was just a food store he said it would not be a worry.

He said: “We must protect our existing businesses, as I would hate a new business to jeopardise the stability of what we already have. I am certain I will visit the new store and it will be a success at Mayflower Retail Park.”

Steve King, Store manager, said: “We are thrilled to be opening a new store at the Mayflower Retail Park and bringing new jobs to the town.

“The new store will complement M&S’ existing offering in the town centre and provide shoppers with the very best of M&S food, plus a fantastic cafe, in a convenient location.”

Con Donovan, Managing Director at Choice Discount, said: “It is great to have another store in the area as MFI shut a while ago now. I am looking forward to it opening as it will bring more trade to an already exciting area.

“With Mayflower Retail Park just off the A127 the level of passing trade is excellent and this can only be positive as anything that brings more jobs and adds healthy competition is welcome.”