Marks & Spencer announces more store closures

Marks & Spencer announces more store closures

This morning M&S announced 14 stores it had earmarked for closure, in addition to 21 that have already shut.

M&S is set to close 100 stores by 2022, as part of a restructuring plan.

. M&S said its remaining clothing and home stores would be larger and more orientated around technology.

M&S faces unrelenting competition both in clothing and food on the high street and online, while efforts to revitalise its business are being hampered by an ongoing squeeze on consumers' spending power.

At Newmarket, a spokesman said the company was working with staff to discuss redeploying to other stores, such as Bury St Edmunds, which is 16 miles away, or Cambridge, which is 14 miles from the town.

Marks & Spencer (M&S), one of the best known names in United Kingdom retail, first said it would reduce the amount of store space devoted to clothing and homewares in 2016, shortly after company lifer Steve Rowe became chief executive.

Last year, retail veteran Archie Norman took over as chairman.

Tuesday's announcement represents a further step-up of the plan.

Marks & Spencer retail, operations and property director Sacha Berendji described the closures as not easy, but "vital for the future of M&S".

Shares in M&S have nearly halved in value since peaking at 594p in 2015.

"In 2018 GlobalData forecasts its shares will be 7.6% in clothing - virtually halving in two decades".

The scaling-back of its store estate was launched in November 2016 by Steve Rowe, who rose from the shop floor to chief executive. This is despite it opening more full line (clothing, home and food) department stores and adding more space during the period. Out of the current top 20 United Kingdom retailers, only the Arcadia Group has lost more share (-3.1ppts) and it sold the BHS chain during this period.

She said: "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".

"But in order to make its space more productive M&S has to produce a compelling offer showcased in an inspiring environment". It also has stores that boast fashion and homeware products.

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