Marks & Spencer has revealed more details of its planned five-year retail shake-up programme by announcing the opening of 36 new stores this year and the closure of six, including four clothing stores.
The retailer will create 1,400 new jobs with the opening of 34 new Food stores and two Clothing, Home and Food stores, which form part of a previously announced plan to open 200 new Food stores by the end of 2018/19. The new stores include new Foodhalls in Bishopsgate (London, near Liverpool Street), Huntingdon, Aylesbury, Spinningfields (central Manchester) and Strood (Kent) and brand new locations for M&S with Clothing, Home and Food stores opening in Bracknell and Rushden in July.
Two Clothing, Home and Food stores will relocate this summer in Crewe (from Market Street to the Grand Junction Retail Park) and Greenock (from Oak Mall to the Port Glasgow Retail Park).
Six stores, however, have been slated for closure and include Monks Cross (Simply Food store), Portsmouth, Slough, Warrington, Wokingham and Worksop (Simply Food store). All the stores affected have another nearby M&S store between 500 metres and nine miles away and, if the closures go ahead, all 380 staff affected would be guaranteed redeployment to a nearby store.
CEO Steve Rowe said the reshaping of its retail estate was down to changing customer habits. “M&S stores will always be an integral part of our customer offer, working seamlessly alongside our website, M&S.com, to deliver great products and service to our customers,” Rowe said.
“However, our customers’ shopping habits are changing. Picking up food for now or tonight rather than doing one big shop or browsing and shopping online and collecting in store are great examples of this and we are committed to adapting our business so that we stay in tune with our customers,” he added.
As a result M&S is moving away from larger fully ranged stores to a greater number of smaller convenience stores, which was a strategy announced last November. It is increasing the number of Food stores by 200 over the next five years and reducing the number of Clothing and Home stores by 60.
At present M&S has 959 UK stores, which include 304 full line stores, 615 food-only stores and 40 outlets.