Staff from Marks & Spencer ready meal supplier Northern Foods confronted the retailer’s directors yesterday in a showdown at its Marble Arch store.

Up to 730 Northern Foods staff face redundancy in August after the supplier failed to agree terms to renew its contract with M&S and said it would be forced to close its Fenland factory in Grantham, Lincolnshire.

Leaders from the GMB union forced a meeting with three M&S directors as demonstrators stalled traffic at the corner of Marble Arch, one of London’s busiest streets.

M&S said the factory closure was extremely regrettable. A spokeswoman for the retailer said: “We worked really hard with Northern Foods to reach an agreement and we just did not get there.”