RETAIL giant Marks & Spencer is to open a new store in north Swindon.

The new 37,000 sq ft store will open at the Orbital Shopping Park next year.

The company says the new store will create dozens of new jobs. Once open, it will become the third Marks & Spencer store in the town alongside shops in the town centre and Swindon Designer Outlet.

It will stock a range of fashions for men, women and children and have a café and a large food hall with a bakery.

John Dorrington, Marks & Spencer regional manager, said: "It is very exciting for us to be extending our commitment to Wiltshire by opening a new store in Swindon to complement our existing stores.

"The Orbital Shopping Park will be an extremely accessible shopping destination in a great location that will complement our existing store portfolio in the region.

"Not only will it allow us to offer local customers more choice, it will also create a substantial number of new jobs for the area."

Councillor Justin Tomlinson is the cabinet member for culture, leisure and recreation, and a ward member for Abbey Meads.

He said: "This is absolutely fantastic news for my residents.

"There have been rumours of this coming forward for quite some time.

"And during that period residents have been asking me to support it - which I am delighted to do.

"It is an excellent addition to the Orbital Shopping Park and I'm sure it will prove very popular.

"But the Orbital centre will never replace Swindon town centre.

"It will work alongside the town centre to improve Swindon's offer to shoppers."

Plans are also coming along for a new McDonald's restaurant on the Orbital site.

Councillors granted the drive-through scheme planning permission in June.

A spokesman for McDonald's said: "The restaurant will house a drive-through facility along with seating for almost 100 people inside.

"The developers are looking for the eatery to open within the first six months of 2008.

"Unfortunately we cannot confirm a definitive date at present."