THE chief executive of Marks and Spencer says he is 'delighted' to be opening a new foodhall in Largs.

Stuart Machin believes that the arrival of the new store will bring a significant employment boost - with 50 jobs expected when the store opens later this year.

Its location - the former Pearson car dealership site - has been lying vacant for the past six months and we recently reported how a long standing access issue has finally been resolved, paving the way for the development to be built.

Mr Machin, 52, says the move reaffirms the retailer’s belief in physical shops.

He added: "Stores are a core part of M&S’s future and serve as a competitive advantage for how customers want to shop today."

SNP councillor Alan HIll said: "It's been a long slog for M&S but hopefully things are now in place to allow them to move forward.

"The commitment to the town is very welcome given the slow drift online over recent years.

"Hopefully M&S will become a draw locally to help other traders."

Conservative councillor Tom Marshall also welcomed the firm's commitment to the high street.

He said: "It is good to see that M&S have committed to Largs.

"This is positive news for the town and the local area in general. It will enhance the all round shopping experience and I hope it will provide additional spin-offs."