Marks & Spencer (M&S) today updates on its five-year programme to improve its UK store estate to better meet the changing needs of customers.
Thirty-four new Food stores and two Clothing, Home and Food stores are planned to open in the next six months. 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.
Over 1,400 new customer assistant and management jobs will be created by the new shops.
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).
M&S is also consulting with colleagues and their representatives over the proposed closure of six stores in Monks Cross (Simply Food store), Portsmouth, Slough, Warrington, Wokingham and Worksop (Simply Food store).
If the proposals go ahead, all 380 colleagues in the affected stores would be guaranteed redeployment at a near-by store.
Steve Rowe, Chief Executive, said, '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. 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.
'This means there will be more M&S colleagues working in an increased number of convenient locations, serving more customers. It also means that we will open new stores, some will reduce in size, some will move, some will close and others will convert to Food-only. Each proposal we make will be very carefully considered with our colleagues and customers firmly front of mind. It is our intention that nobody leaves M&S and we will work as hard as possible to ensure that we can deliver against this promise.'
M&S announced its five-year UK store estate programme in November after a full review of its UK store portfolio. The plans will improve the M&S store estate to better meet customer needs and include opening 200 new Food-only stores and selling Clothing and Home from 60 fewer locations. The result will be more, conveniently located M&S stores but fewer, more inspirational Clothing and Home stores that offer customers better ranging and availability.
M&S currently has 959 UK stores - 304 full line stores, 615 Food-only stores and 40 Outlets.