STERLING MILLS has been dealt a blow after Marks and Spencer announced it was closing its Tillicoultry store.

Earlier this week, the Advertiser revealed that the outlet store will shut its doors at the shopping village next month, as the company goes through another restructuring phase.

The announcement leaves 19 people potentially out of work, although M&S chiefs have said they will speak to employees individually to work out what is best for them going forward.

An M&S spokesperson said the move is part of a "stock management" strategy as the firm looks to revive flagging sales.

Bosses considered the Sterling Mills site as one outlet store which had to be shut as part of their review, with the store closing for good on Saturday, September 21.

Shona Lawrie, M&S head of region for North and East, said: "The decision to not renew our lease and therefore close Sterling Mills Outlet in September was a difficult but necessary part of reshaping our estate.

"Over the coming weeks our priority will be supporting our great team of 19 colleagues at Sterling Mills as we discuss what's best for them.

"We remain committed to local customers and will continue to serve them from our website and other stores in the area, including Stirling, Dunblane, Dunfermline and Falkirk."

The Advertiser understands that employees could be offered the chance to work at nearby stores in Stirling, Falkirk and Dunblane should they wish to continue with the company.

Keith Brown MSP said: "This announcement from M&S is deeply disappointing and will be of concern to the management of Sterling Mills as there is no doubt the store is a draw for shoppers.

"The immediate concern must be for the 19 staff who work at the store and I will be seeking assurances that they will receive support to find alternative, suitable employment."