A 'peaceful' protest will be staged outside the Marks & Spencer store in Dorchester which has been earmarked for closure.

Last month it was reported that M&S in South Street could close after the food and fashion chain said it was 'reshaping' its store estate "to meet the needs of today’s customer."

Many residents have expressed their disappointment at the decision, saying the proposed closure will be a great loss for the county town.

In response to the news a petition was launched by Dorchester resident Sandy Jordan, who runs Jordans Jewellers in the town centre.

The petition website says: "There is a proposed plan to close our Marks & Spencer store in Dorchester, Dorset, however, this decision is not yet final.

"As you know the Marks & Spencer store in Dorchester is extremely popular and is supported by the whole of the county town and surrounding areas."

So far the petition has amassed more than 4,600 signatures and now a peaceful protest has been planned for this weekend outside of the store.

Mrs Jordan said: "We have been inundated with people wanting to sign our petition.

"There is a protest outside the store organised for Saturday between 11am and 1pm.

"It will be a big peaceful protest. Come along, bring a friend and a banner if you have one. We just want to show our support for the store.

"There is a lot of support here to keep the store and we just want to demonstrate that.

"There is definitely a strong feeling in the town that we want to try and keep the Marks & Spencer store in Dorchester."

Town crier Cllr Alistair Chisholm will be attending the protest and lending his voice to the cause.

He said: "I think it's important because the store has become an integral part of Dorchester.

"Whilst I realise that the whole retail sector is struggling a bit I think Marks & Spencer does have a following in Dorchester.

"This is a free country and if people get upset at the potential loss of what they think is an important store they have every right to stage a peaceful protest because if this goes ahead we are going to miss it."