Moto, Britain’s biggest motorway service area operator, is investing £30 million

in a refurbishment programme that will see another top high street brand

introduced at every one of its sites as well as more Marks & Spencer Simply Food stores.

The work, which will be carried out during the winter months, will give Moto the

opportunity to begin the process of bringing in WHSmith outlets to replace its

own branded retail shops. Five of the WHSmith travel format stores will open before

the end of November with a further 41 opening by summer 2007. The move follows a

successful trial of the format at two sites.

Another 10 Marks & Spencer Simply Food stores will be opened before Easter 2007,

bringing Moto’s portfolio to 23 across its estate.

The investment will also bring about improvements in areas such as the main

restaurant - which will include new Caffe Ritazza coffee shops - toilets,

concourse and external aspects.

Moto’s CEO Tim Moss said: "We are very excited at the prospect of having

WHSmith, Britain’s biggest CTN retailer, as a partner in our network of motorway

service areas, alongside Marks & Spencer. It will mean our customers will have

the widest and best choice of familiar high street brands on the motorway


He added: "Some of our sites are among the oldest on the motorway and have some

obvious shortcomings. However, this £30 million programme of refurbishment will

bring about significant changes that more accurately reflect the needs and

expectations of modern motorway travellers.

"It is a major undertaking and as such is bound to cause a degree of disruption

to customers at affected sites, for which we can only apologise in advance."

The first five WHSmith stores are scheduled to open at: Frankley South (M5),

Leigh Delamere East (M4), Pease Pottage (M23/A23), Tamworth (M42) and Trowell

South (M1). A further seven will open before Christmas at: Thurrock (A1306, off

M25), Woolley Edge (M1), Hilton Park North (M6), Trowell North (M1), Chieveley

(A34/M4) and Donington Park (M1).

The first of the new Marks & Spencer Simply Food outlets has already opened at

Birch westbound on the M62 near Manchester. The others will open at: Hilton Park

North (M6), Chieveley (A34/M4), Frankley South (M5), Pease Pottage (M23/A23),

Trowell North (M1), Lancaster North (M6), Woolley Edge South (M1), Thurrock

(A1306 off M25) and Ferrybridge (M62). In addition, existing Marks & Spencer

Simply Food stores at Donington Park (M1) and Cherwell Valley (M40) will be

extended to cope with customer demand.