Walsall's new council leader says he hopes to persuade Marks and Spencer to stay open in the town - especially as the chain has ten years to run on its shopping centre lease.
Conservative councillor Mike Bird, who was appointed leader on Wednesday, hopes to persuade the chain to reconsider its closure plan, which could see up to 94 staff lose their jobs.
Walsall Council, then run by Labour, spent £13.8 million buying the Saddlers Centre shopping mall last summer and, despite making losses in recent years hoped the mall would turn a profit for the authority in five years.
It was recently claimed that the store was on course to make more than £500,000 profit during its first year of council ownership.
But future profits could be in doubt if its largest store shuts up shop.
Cllr Bird said: "It was a great shock, it has been there years. I was not just a shop, but a meeting place for many people who like the cafe.
"We are looking to meet with Marks and Spencer to see if we can influence their decision, change their minds."
He said that M&S has the lease until 2029 and that will be an issue in their talks.
"We will have to see how it goes. If it closes filling that void is not going to be easy. But we have got some ideas."
He said they would look to learn from successful shopping centres like Touchwood in Solihull and see what improvements could be made.
Cllr Bird also argued the announcement vindicates his view that the council should not have bought the centre last year.
"I did question it at a time when more and more shopping is moving online. But we are here now a need to be positive," he added.
Walsall Council was tied in the recent election with 30 Tory councillors, balanced by a coalition of 30 Labour, Lib Dem and independent councillors.
But councillor Bird seized control of Walsall Council in controversial circumstances this week - after his Conservative group broke with tradition to keep their mayor in post for a second year guaranteeing his casting vote. Labour had run the council for two years having taken the leadership from Cllr Bird in 2016.