As part of its transformation plan, M&S has made a second update in its programme to modernise its UK store estate to better meet the changing needs of customers.
The group had announced back in November 2016 that it intended to reposition c.25% of Clothing & Home space through a combination of closures, downsizes, relocations and conversions to food-only stores.
M&S is to close six stores by the end of April: Birkenhead, Bournemouth, Durham, Fforestfach, Putney and Redditch, with all colleagues moving to nearby stores.
A further eight stores are now proposed for closure: Andover, Basildon, Bridlington, Denton (Outlet), Falmouth, Fareham, Keighley and Stockport. 468 colleagues are affected by the proposals and will now enter a period of consultation. Should these stores close, in the first instance all colleagues would be redeployed or offered redeployment at other stores before redundancy is considered.
M&S has also reassessed and reduced its Simply Food opening programme, and now only plans to open a total of 36 owned and franchise stores over the next six months.
New Simply Food locations will include Broadstone, Streatham Hill and St Albans. These stores will sell M&S food and drink and offer Collect in Store for Clothing & Home.
The 36 stores will create 1,200 management and customer assistant roles. Two stores are also due to relocate – Newry, (Northern Ireland), and Dover, (Kent), which will also convert from a Clothing and Food store to a Foodhall.
Sacha Berendji, Director of Retail at Marks & Spencer, said, “We’re committed to transforming M&S for our customers, colleagues and shareholders. Stores will always be an integral part of our customer experience, alongside M&S.com, but we have to ensure we have the right offer in the right locations.
“We don’t want any colleagues to leave M&S and we will work with each colleague individually on what is best for them as we endeavour to give everyone a role. However, we accept in some cases we may have to consider redundancy.
“We believe these changes are vital for the future of M&S and we will continue to accelerate the programme, taking tough but necessary decisions, as we focus on making M&S special.”
This update follows M&S’s announcement in November that it is accelerating its UK store estate plan after the better than expected levels of sales transfer from closures and plans to grow online sales.
M&S currently has 1,025 stores in the UK: 302 Clothing, Home and Food, 684 Food-only and 39 Outlets.