Marks and Spencer to close over 100 stores by 2022

Marco Green
May 23, 2018

Fourteen stores will be closed in M&S's current financial year and 21 have already been shut.

"Closing stores isn't easy but it is vital for the future of M&S", said retail director Sacha Berendji. It plans to relocate, convert and downsize other stores and "radically" reshape its clothing and homewares business.

In a statement today (22 May), released ahead of its full-year results tomorrow, the United Kingdom retailer announced the next tranche of United Kingdom stores proposed for closure or set to close as its radical transformation plan continues at pace.

And more in Darlington, East Kilbride, Falkirk, Kettering, Newmarket, New Mersey Speke, Northampton, Stockton and Walsall are proposed to be axed.

Online shopping accounts for 22% of non-food retail sales in the United Kingdom, according to the British Retail Consortium.

As of the end of March, the retailer had 1,035 United Kingdom stores, made up of 300 clothing, home and food stores, 696 food-only stores and 39 outlets. If the stores do close, the employees will be redeployed or offered redeployment before redundancy.

The company said nearly 900 people affected by the latest 14 proposed closures would be offered roles elsewhere before redundancy was considered.

M&S chief executive Steve Rowe said in November 2016 that 30 United Kingdom stores would close before the plans were subsequently scaled-up and accelerated.

The company's chairman is Archie Norman - formerly MP for Tunbridge Wells.

M&S says there are encouraging signs from towns such as Warrington where it closed a town centre store, but shoppers have since flocked to its new outlet in a retail park.

He added: "Usdaw has thousands of members working for Marks & Spencer and the staff now need, more than ever, the representation and support of an independent trade union".

Shares in M&S declined by as much as 3% on Tuesday following the announcement, making it the worst performing stock of the day on London's benchmark FTSE 100 index.

"In 2018 GlobalData forecasts its shares will be 7.6% in clothing - virtually halving in two decades".

The Fleetwood M&S outlet will close on July 28 and 13 of the chain's other stores are proposed for closure or set to close, as part of M&S's programme to reshape its United Kingdom store estate.

Their original plan was to open 200 new Simply Food stores in the coming months which has now been reduced to just 36. It also has stores that boast fashion and homeware products.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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