So we wave a fond farewell and sad goodbye to Marks and Spencer in Northwich which literally shut up shop last weekend.

Now I’m sad to see it go as it has been a town centre fixture for as long as I can remember but I can only assume M&S has taken the decision for purely economic and commercial reasons.

The problem with the Northwich store, as I see it, is that it was like the unloved middle child. It wasn’t compact enough to be economic (see the Widnes branch which is quite a small offering in a shopping centre) or big enough to be economic (see the giant Warrington store at the Gemini development).

Then you have the perennial problems associated with the wider and well documented ‘death of the High Street’ as people forgo shopping in person, opting instead to make their retail purchases on the internet.

And let’s not forget the identity crisis Marks and Spencer seemed to suffer from. Did it want to cater for the Baby Boomer generation or did it want to go for a younger market? I don’t know the answer to that one and it would appear that the bosses at M&S didn’t really know either.

But there was another particular problem faced by the Northwich store.

I’m no retail analyst but my understanding is the Marks and Spencer food offering always did well.

The perception was it offered good quality food at a reasonable price. Fair enough, its prices may have been a little more expensive than Tesco or Asda, but you felt you were getting something slightly better.

And then Waitrose moves into town. That’s the equivalent of a rival parking its tanks on Marks and Spencer’s food hall lawn.

I’m truly sad to see M&S leave town, I really am, and my heart goes out the any employees who have found themselves out of work as a result of the closure. Believe me when I tell you I feel your pain.

But it’s a harsh world these and we can only hope Northwich can look forward. The key, I would suggest, is getting a new occupier for the site as soon as possible. An empty unit of that size in the town centre is not a good look.