HIGH street giants Marks & Spencer are going back to where it all began by opening a new stall at Leeds’ Kirkgate Market.
The retail mainstay, which started trading on the market back in 1884, have announced they will be setting up a new heritage and coffee shop next to the famous M&S clock.
Bosses say the stall will give visitors to the historic market a chance to learn about the story behind the brand, which began life as a penny bazaar.
The launch in March comes on the one year anniversary of the opening of the Marks in Time Exhibition at the M&S Company Archive at the University of Leeds.
When the stall is open, visitors can go on the M&S Heritage Trail through the city, starting at the stall at Kirkgate and finishing at the university’s Michael Marks Building.
Alison Houston, Head of the M&S Company Archive, said: “The new stall will give visitors the chance to experience the origins and history of Marks & Spencer right inside its original setting at Kirkgate Market.
“This is a unique opportunity for people in Leeds to learn more about the heritage of a world famous company born within the city 128 years ago and its links with various parts of the city centre from 1884 through to the present day.”
Work has now started preparing unit T in the market’s 1904 building for the launch of the new stall.
Councillor Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council executive board member for development and the economy said: “We are really pleased to have a Marks & Spencer stall back in Kirkgate market where Michael Marks opened the famous penny bazaar.
“This will be an enormous boost for the Market as well as for the M&S Archive and I feel sure it will bring many more visitors to both.
“This latest addition to the unique offer in the Market demonstrates the confidence that both the council and businesses have that it will continue to go from strength to strength over the coming years. The brand has its heritage based in Leeds, and it is a fantastic example of the retail capability of Leeds as a city. I look forward to seeing the finished result and how this will link to the wider heritage trail across the city.”
M&S was founded in Leeds by Michael Marks and Thomas Spencer.
Councillor Gerry Harper, Leeds City Council markets champion added: “It is excellent to have M&S come back into the market and take a stall and a great start to 2013. The market has seen a large number of people come through its halls over the festive period, and no doubt this stall with spark interest with new and current shoppers alike.”