M&S announces first closures under new strategy and a raft of store openings

British retailer Marks & Spencer said on Thursday it planned to close six stores as part of a review of its UK estate that was first detailed last year. It will also open a raft of new food stores.

The retailer currently has 959 UK stores - Reuters

It said if the six stores were closed all 380 employees affected would be guaranteed redeployment at a nearby store.

There will be 34 will be food-only stores in major cities and towns plus two larger clothing/home stores opening by this summer. The stores to close are in Portsmouth, Slough, Warrington, Wokingham, Monk’s Cross and Worksop.

M&S said in November it planned to close about 30 UK stores selling clothing, homewares and food and downsize or convert another 45 into food stores over five years. That will mean a reduction of 10 percent in floorspace devoted to racks of skirts, jumpers, trousers and towels.

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

M&S also said on Thursday it will open 34 new food stores and two clothing, home and food stores over the next six months, creating 1,400 jobs.

The retailer currently has 959 UK stores – 304 full line stores, 615 food-only stores and 40 outlets.

Additional reporting by Sandra Halliday



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