Marks & Spencer announces store closures
Marks & Spencer is to close six stores by the end of April as part of plans to reposition around a quarter of its clothing and home space through a combination of closures, downsizes, relocations and conversions to food-only stores.
The news follows M&S’s announcement in November that it is accelerating its UK store estate plan after better than expected levels of sales transfer from closures and plans to grow online sales.
The six stores confirmed for closure include Birkenhead, Bournemouth, Durham, Fforestfach, Putney and Redditch. All staff will move to nearby stores.
M&S said a further eight stores have been proposed for closure including Andover, Basildon, Bridlington, Denton, Falmouth, Fareham, Keighley and Stockport. Some 468 staff members are affected by the proposals and will now enter a period of consultation. If the stores close, M&S said all staff will be redeployed or offered redeployment at other stores before redundancy is considered.
The retailer has also reassessed and reduced its Simply Food opening programme, and now only plans to open a total of 36 owned and franchise stores over the next six months. New locations will include Broadstone, Streatham Hill and St Albans. These stores will sell M&S food and drink and offer Collect in Store for clothing and home products. The 36 stores will create 1,200 management and customer assistant roles.
In addition, two stores in Newry and Dover will relocate and also convert from clothing and food stores to a foodhall.
Sacha Berendji, director of retail at Marks & Spencer said, “We’re committed to transforming M&S for our customers, colleagues and shareholders. Stores will always be an integral part of our customer experience, alongside M&S.com, but we have to ensure we have the right offer in the right locations.
“We don’t want any colleagues to leave M&S and we will work with each colleague individually on what is best for them as we endeavour to give everyone a role. However, we accept in some cases we may have to consider redundancy.
“We believe these changes are vital for the future of M&S and we will continue to accelerate the programme, taking tough but necessary decisions, as we focus on making M&S special.”
M&S currently has 1,025 stores in the UK including 302 clothing, home and food shops, 684 food-only stores and 39 outlets.
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