MARKS & Spencer has confirmed it is seeking to end its 90-year presence on the St Helens high street and relocate to a retail park.

The M&S store on Church Street is one of the town centre's most-cherished and long-running shops, having moved to its Church Street premises in 1928.

The retail giant says it is set to submit a planning application to open a new "larger store" at Ravenhead Retail Park, which would protect and create new jobs.

M&S has an association with St Helens which dates back more than a century to 1902, when a site at New Market was acquired to build the first store in the town.

The chain later moved to Church Street in 1928.

M&S say that they "remain dedicated to the community" despite plans to end its 90-year stay at Church Street.

Pete Swallow, M&S head of region for Merseyside, Cheshire and North Wales, said: “We’re excited about our proposals to invest in St Helens and open a new, larger store in Ravenhead Retail Park. In addition to the whole team staying with M&S, our new store would create new jobs.

“We’ve been serving customers in the town for 90 years, and remain dedicated to the community.

"If our plans go ahead, we’ll be increasing the size of the existing M&S store to offer our customers an improved shopping experience.

"As well as bringing an M&S Café to the town for the first time, customers will be able to take advantage of free parking and use our popular Click & Collect service in store via M&”

If the planning process goes smoothly the switch – which would aim to be see seamless transition between Church Street and the retail park – could take place in spring 2019.