A branch of Marks & Spencer will open at the new Marriotts Close development in Witney. A deal has been signed for M&S to provide one of the big anchor stores, along with Debenhams, which signed up earlier this year.

It will be a major outlet, stocking both food and clothing, split over two floors, with 32,000 sq ft of floorspace. The company's decision to come to Witney significantly increases the M&S profile in Oxfordshire, where it already has two main stores in Oxford city centre and Banbury.

Last year, the chain increased its presence in the region with two smaller outlets, a Simply Food in Summertown, and an out-of-town store at Oxford Retail Park which, although selling clothing as well as food, is only 9,000 square feet.

Nationwide the company has plans to open more than 20 stores, creating 10,000 new jobs.

In public consultation surveys for the Marriotts Close redevelopment, M&S figured highly in what local people wanted to see in the new retail centre.

And the deal puts another significant piece into the retail jigsaw for Simons Developments, which is putting together the £50m redevelopment of the former football ground.

Luke Pickering, director at Simons, said: "We are delighted to have agreed the deal with M&S as a major shop in the scheme and it is great to see our plans developing.

"We expect that now M&S has joined Debenhams there will be an even greater demand for the few remaining units."

The M&S store will be larger than Debenhams, which is planned to have 20,000 sq ft of floorspace. Other retailers coming to Witney include cinema operator Cineworld, Frankie & Bennys Italian restaurant, Cafe Rouge and Starbucks coffee shop.

The blueprint for the new complex is: 14 retail units, five-screen cinema, three restaurants and cafes, public open spaces and children's play area, 190 new homes and a multi-storey car park.

Work was originally scheduled to begin next month, but has been put back to January to allow current businesses a congestion-free period in the run-up to Christmas.

Contractors will, however, be starting work on a temporary car park at Woodford Way this autumn, making up for the majority of spaces lost when the Welch Way car park is closed during the redevelopment.

Barry Norton, leader of West Oxfordshire District Council, said: "Confirmation that M&S is coming to Witney is great news for the town and residents."