Sneak peak: First look at M&S new 70% bigger store in Harrogate with fill your own and other new features

This is not just any expansion: Marks & Spencer is celebrating 115 years of trading in Harrogate by offering local residents a sneak peek of how its Oatlands Foodhall on Leeds Road will look under major extension plans for summer 2022 - and it includes a new 'fill your own' section.

By Graham Chalmers
Thursday, 2nd December 2021, 12:24 pm
Coming soon - In line with M&S’s commitment to cut plastic waste from its business, the new Leeds Road Foodhall  in Harrogate will introduce a “Fill Your Own” section.
Coming soon - In line with M&S’s commitment to cut plastic waste from its business, the new Leeds Road Foodhall in Harrogate will introduce a “Fill Your Own” section.

The top-to-bottom expansion and refresh plans, which will increase the size of the Foodhall on Leeds Road by more than 70%, will be achieved by extending into the retail unit next to the existing store.

The new-look Foodhall is designed to deliver a bigger, better and fresher experience for shoppers and marks a significant investment in the town.

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Vintage photo - M&S staff at the original Harrogate Penny Bazaar in 1926, as the early M&S stores were then called,

The Leeds Road store will be one of the first in the country to be refreshed with this exciting design, with in-store features including new fresh product displays, brimming with the best quality fruit and veg, and a new in-store bakery serving fresh bread and pastries throughout the day.

The transformation of the existing Foodhall will happen in stages to ensure customers can continue shopping at M&S Oatlands throughout the works.

As well as new features like an expanded frozen food section and a dedicated M&S Wine Shop, the plans include vibrant new lighting, and new high-spec flooring and decoration throughout the store.

In line with M&S’s commitment to cut 1,000 tonnes of plastic from its business by March 2022 and halve food waste by 2030, the new Leeds Road Foodhall will introduce a “Fill Your Own” section to help reduce packaging and allow customers to purchase just what they need.

Shoppers will be able to bring their own re-usable containers to stock up on store cupboard essentials like pasta and rice, as well as cereals, nuts and other snacks.

M&S customers will also be able to make the most of convenient new ways to pay, with more checkouts than ever before for speedy service, and a mobile “Scan & Shop” option which lets M&S Sparks shoppers skip the queues altogether.

New digital screens in store will also make it quicker and easier to Click & Collect orders from M&

M&S Regional Manager, Rona Hulbert said: “With our longstanding commitment to serving local communities and our proud Yorkshire heritage, I’m really excited that we’re looking forward to the future and continuing to invest in Harrogate with our plans for a major extension and refresh of our Oatlands Foodhall on Leeds Road.

Rona Hulbert added: “These plans are designed to deliver a bigger, better and fresher new-look Foodhall and along with new features in Cambridge Street like our Jaeger concept store, we’ll be able to deliver the very best of M&S for our customers in Harrogate going into the future, with a bigger range of M&S products than ever before.”

Local history: M&S looks back on 115 years in Harrogate

Whilst looking forward to this exciting new investment in Harrogate’s future, this month the retailer is also celebrating its 115th anniversary of trading in the town.

M&S first opened in Harrogate on December 1, 1906 in the old Market Hall. The company, which started life more than 130 years ago as a market stall in Leeds, called its early stores ‘Penny Bazaars.’

The original Harrogate Penny Bazaar was a modest size, but continued to serve local residents all the way until May 1934 when a new Marks & Spencer store opened at 36 Cambridge Street with more than twenty times the selling space!

Many extensions and improvements continued through the years, before in 1997 work started on a major new store development.

In 1999, M&S moved into its current site on Cambridge Street, doubling the store size again and offering customers a Foodhall and its most extensive selection of Clothing & Home products.

Cambridge Street recently became one of the first M&S stores in the country to offer the newly relaunched Jaegar collection. Both brands were founded back in 1884, and following the acquisition of the retailer, Jaegar is now proudly part of the M&S family.

The Jaeger collection is now available to buy in M&S Harrogate via a fully immersive and digital concept store. Customers can browse the collection in store and buy online for delivery straight to their homes, with the help and advice of dedicated Jaegar team members.

The collection only launched a month ago, but already the brand’s stylish new coats and cashmere jumpers are proving particularly popular with Harrogate shoppers.

M&S Regional Manager, Rona Hulbert said: “We’re delighted to be celebrating our 115th anniversary in Harrogate this month. M&S has a long and proud history of serving local customers, dating all the way back to the days of the Penny Bazaars, and it’s amazing to reflect on how far we’ve come and how our stores and shopping habits have changed.”