Health Care

Marks & Spencer to open 36 new shops but shut six stores

Marks & Spencer to open 36 new shops but shut six stores

M&S said in November its five-year plan was to close about 30 United Kingdom stores and convert 45 more into food-only shops, while also announcing a retreat from some worldwide markets.

Six stores, however, have been slated for closure and include Monks Cross (Simply Food store), Portsmouth, Slough, Warrington, Wokingham and Worksop (Simply Food store).

After taking account of store openings in under-served areas a net 60 fewer United Kingdom stores will be selling the full M&S range by 2021, it said.

M&S announced its estates programme in November, with Oldham being one of the first victims as the retailer opted not to take up its option for a 51,000 sq ft full line store in the town, although it is still considering Oldham locations for a food-only store.

The Foodhalls will be located in places like Huntingdon, Aylesbury, Spinningfields, Manchester, Bishopsgate in London, and Strood in Kent while the new clothing, home and food stores will be Bracknell and Rushden.

City analysts have complained that M&S has too many stores at a time when sales are transferring to the internet.

Around 380 staff will be affected by store closures, although M&S was eager to stress that they will all be guaranteed redeployment at stores nearby, while two of the company's larger shops in Crewe and Greenock will be relocated to neighbouring areas. The shakeup of the retailer's estate will mean a reduction of 10% in the floor space devoted to racks of skirts, jumpers and pants.

Chief executive Steve Rowe said: "Each proposal we make will be very carefully considered with our colleagues and customers firmly front of mind".

Over the next five years Marks and Spencer plans to open 200 new Food-only stores and selling Clothing and Home from 60 fewer locations.

"It is our intention that nobody leaves Marks and Spencer and we will work as hard as possible to ensure that we can deliver against this promise".

The retailer plans to open 34 new food stores and two clothing, home and food stores.

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