A list of the Marks & Spencer clothing and home stores most at risk of closure has been published by retail analysts Local Data Company (LDC).
M&S said last week it will close 30 of its full-line stores in the UK over the next five years. Another 45 will be converted into branches of M&S Simply Food or downsized. It expects to have 60 fewer clothing and home stores over that time, once openings are taken into account.
LDC has identified a list of stores deemed to be the most vulnerable. A spokeswoman from M&S emphasised that the list is not from them and it does not mean the stores are part of the official closure programme.
LDC said M&S is likely to pull out of some town centre locations after opening stores on nearby retail parks with lots of parking. “There are 35 towns and cities that have more than two M&S stores either on the high street, in a shopping centre or on the edge of town in a retail park,” LDC director Matthew Hopkinson told The Daily Mail.
“If one removes the large urban centres such as London, Glasgow and other cities, there are 22 towns where one might question the need for two stores. Examples include Milton Keynes, Bournemouth, Durham, Fareham, Stockton-on-Tees, Swindon and Chichester.”
The M&S spokeswoman said: “We are very disappointed that anyone would choose to speculate in this way. This list is not based on any M&S data and we have not published any locations.
“What we have done is outlined plans to improve our store estate over the next five years which include opening 200 new food stores and selling clothing and home from 60 fewer stores.”
The full LDC list is as follows:
14. Brierley Hill
27. King’s Lynn
28. Leamington Spa
36. Milton Keynes
37. Newcastle Upon Tyne
45. St Albans
51. Tunbridge Wells