Marks & Spencer has announced it is to close 100 stores in the next four years, as it downsizes its UK store portfolio and moves more of the business online.
The high street retailer said 21 stores had already shut since the annoucement of the store estate programme in November 2016. A further 14 stores have been announced today as proposed for closure or set to close, as it accelerates its store closure programme. Alongside relocations, conversions, downsizes and the introduction of concessions, M&S said these closures would radically reshape its clothing and home space.
The next 14 clothing and home stores that will close or are proposed for closure in 2018/19 include Bayswater in London, Fleetwood Outlet and Newton Abbot Outlet – all three of which will close by the end of July.
In addition, it has revealed that Clacton and Holloway Road in London will both close by early 2019, to coincide with new nearby food stores opening. It has also confirmed that Darlington, East Kilbride, Falkirk, Kettering, Newmarket, New Mersey Speke, Northampton, Stockton and Walsall are proposed for closure and will now enter a period of consultation with all 626 affected employees.
Mark & Spencer said should these stores close, all colleagues would be redeployed or offered redeployment at other stores before redundancy is considered.
It has confirmed the store closures are part of a strategy to reshape its UK store estate in line with its target to take at least a third of sales online.
Marks & Spencer operations and property director, Sacha Berendji, said: “Closing stores isn’t easy, but it is vital for the future of M&S. Where we have closed stores, we are seeing an encouraging number of customers moving to nearby stores and enjoying shopping with us in a better environment, which is why we’re continuing to transform our estate with pace.”
The acceleration of M&S’s UK store estate programme is part of a wider five-year transformation plan. The retailer said it is aiming to create fewer, better clothing and home stores. These stores will be “larger, digitally enabled, better located and more inspirational for customers to shop”.
The stores will also be supported by a seamless online experience across all digital channels including mobile and social, and by a conveniently located network of food stores that offer customers a next-day collect-in-store service for clothing and home purchases.