M&S to accelerate plans to close quarter of larger stores
Marks & Spencer has said it is seeking to speed up a major shake-up of its stores estate which will result in the closure of 67 larger shops.
The retailer stressed that the previously announced closures would be more than offset by new openings as the group seeks to focus more on its grocery business and online operations.
In 2019, M&S confirmed long-term plans to axe 110 stores as part of a sweeping overhaul under previous CEO Steve Rowe. In a presentation to investors, the retail giant has said there are a remaining 67 “lower productivity, full line stores” it will close over the next five financial years.
It added that the company will now seek to speed up this transformation plan with an aim of completing the stores shake-up over three years. The move will also see the retailer open 104 more Simply Food outlets over the same period, with many expected to reopen in the same area or location as sites earmarked for closure.
M&S has not detailed which locations or how many jobs will be affected by the plans.
The company said it has “made some progress to date” on the transformation of its stores portfolio but has further to go, as it seeks to complete the plan with 180 full-line branches and 420 food shops.
The plan will result in a 20% reduction in retail space dedicated to clothing and home products, amid significant online growth.
The shake-up also comes as part of a wider overhaul which will see M&S aim to deliver around £400 million in cost savings. It comes under the leadership of recently appointed CEO Stuart Machin and Co-CEO Katie Bickerstaffe.
Machin said: “We are creating a fit for the future store estate, with shops in great locations that help our customers shop the way they want to. We are seeing strong performances from our recently relocated stores and this gives us the confidence to go faster in our rotation plans, whilst at the same time investing in bigger and better Food stores.”