Marks and Spencer has announced that it will close 100 stores by 2022, accelerating a reorganisation that it says is “vital” for the firm’s future.
Of the 100 stores, 21 have already been shut and M&S has now revealed the location of 14 further sites to close.
It is part of a revamp that was started in November 2016.
Under its plan, M&S wants to move a third of its sales online and plans to have fewer, larger clothing and homeware stores in better locations.
“Closing stores isn’t easy but it is vital for the future of M&S,” said Sacha Berendji, director of retail operations at the firm.
He said that where stores have already closed “encouraging” numbers of shoppers had shifted their business to nearby stores.
The latest M&S stores affected
Stores closing by end of July 2018
- Fleetwood (Outlet store)
- Newton Abbot (Outlet store)
Stores closing by early 2019
- Holloway Road
Proposed for closure
- East Kilbride
- New Mersey Speke
‘New retail market’
Retail veteran Archie Norman took over as M&S chairman last year. He said the retailer had been “drifting” and promised to speed up changes.
That has included scaling back ambitions for its Simply Food chain. It had intended to open 40 stores this financial year, but has cut that number to 25.
“M&S is repositioning itself for the new retail world,” said Laith Khalaf, senior analyst at stockbrokers Hargreaves Lansdown.
“Having a huge store estate is no longer the powerful retail force that it once was.”
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The retailer is trying to spur growth after disappointing trading over the Christmas period.
In the three months to 30 December, M&S said like-for-like sales fell at its food business, where sales had been rising, as well as at its clothing and homeware division.
Investors will be looking for evidence of improvement in the company’s annual results which are released on Wednesday. Analysts are expecting pre-tax profits of £573m, which would be down from £613m in the previous financial year.
Like other retailers M&S has been hurt by the squeeze on consumers, who have been hit by rising inflation and sluggish wage growth.
Source: BBC News