ST HELENS' Marks & Spencer store appears safe after it avoided being on a list of stores potentially facing the axe in the latest announcement by the high-street giant.

The Church Street store, which houses both food and clothing, is one of St Helens key retailers and, so far, is safe from the chop.

However, neighbouring Warrington could lose its town centre branch in the Golden Square Shopping Centre.

Five other stores that could be axed across the country after consultation plans were announced are: Monks Cross, Portsmouth, Slough, Wokingham and Worksop.

There have been fears for a number of stores across the country since it emerged last autumn that the high giant would be cutting back its store numbers.

Steve Rowe, chief executive of Marks & Spencer, said: “M&S stores will always be an integral part of our customer offer, working seamlessly alongside our website, M&, to deliver great products and service to our customers.

“However, our customers’ shopping habits are changing.

“Picking up food for now or tonight rather than doing one big shop or browsing and shopping online and collecting in store are great examples of this and we are committed to adapting our business so that we stay in tune with our customers.

“This means there will be more M&S colleagues working in an increased number of convenient locations, serving more customers.

“It also means that we will open new stores, some will reduce in size, some will move, some will close and others will convert to food-only.

“Each proposal we make will be very carefully considered with our colleagues and customers firmly front of mind.

“It is our intention that nobody leaves M&S and we will work as hard as possible to ensure that we can deliver against this promise.”