M&S to significantly increase F&B space at food & clothing stores

Marks and Spencer is to launch a new strategy with a move towards food at its stores, the Mail on Sunday reported.

M&S already has a chain of convenience stores branded Simply Food, but they are too small - around 7,000 sq ft - to stock the company's full line of food products. A store would need to devote around 12,000 sq ft to hold the full line of food products.

The company wants to include the full range food offer across its estate to target the weekly family shop as there are currently only around 12 M&S stores that stock all 6,500 food products. M&S thinks that if shoppers can access the full range of goods they are likely to buy more.

The group's plan is to convert more space in existing stores to food, with new stores better designed and located for customers who want to do food shopping.

In a letter to suppliers, M&S said it was not getting its line of food products in front of enough customers. The letter went on: 'This must change, and it will. The full range will go online with Ocado and we are starting a store renewal programme that will get more products in front of more customers with bigger, better M&S Food Halls in new and existing sites.'

Of 1,043 of the M&S estate, 729 are Simply Food sites, and 314 sells both food and clothing.