Marks & Spencer has today announced plans to close six of its stores but also open 36, mostly food outlets, in the next six months as part of its five-year programme to improve its UK store estate.
The stores earmarked for closure are in Monks Cross (Simply Food), Portsmouth, Slough, Warrington, Wokingham and Worksop (Simply Food). M&S said it is currently consulting with staff and their representatives over the proposed closures, adding all 380 affected workers would be guaranteed redeployment at a near-by store.
Meanwhile, 34 new Food stores and two Clothing, Home and Food stores are planned to open in the next six months. The new stores include new Foodhalls in Bishopsgate (London, near Liverpool Street), Huntingdon, Aylesbury, Spinningfields (central Manchester) and Strood (Kent) and brand new locations for M&S with Clothing, Home and Food stores opening in Bracknell and Rushden in July. The openings are expected to create around 1,400 new jobs.
Steve Rowe, Chief Executive of Marks & Spencer, said: “M&S stores will always be an integral part of our customer offer, working seamlessly alongside our website, M&S.com, to deliver great products and service to our customers. However, our customers’ shopping habits are changing. Picking up food for now or tonight rather than doing one big shop or browsing and shopping online and collecting in store are great examples of this and we are committed to adapting our business so that we stay in tune with our customers.
“This means there will be more M&S colleagues working in an increased number of convenient locations, serving more customers. It also means that we will open new stores, some will reduce in size, some will move, some will close and others will convert to Food-only. Each proposal we make will be very carefully considered with our colleagues and customers firmly front of mind.”
M&S announced its five-year UK store estate programme in November after a full review of its store portfolio. The plans aim to improve its store estate to better meet customer needs. It includes the opening 200 new Food-only stores and selling Clothing and Home from 60 fewer locations.
M&S currently has 959 UK stores – 304 full line stores, 615 Food-only stores and 40 Outlets.