As part of its transformation plan, M&S plans to close six stores by the end of April – Birkenhead, Bournemouth, Durham, Fforestfach, Putney and Redditch – with all colleagues moving to nearby stores.
This is the second update in the retailer's programme to modernise its UK store estate. As announced in November 2016, M&S intends to reposition around 25% of its Clothing & Home space through a combination of closures, downsizes, relocations and conversions to food-only stores.
A further eight stores are 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.
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 locations will include Broadstone, Streatham Hill and St Albans. These stores will sell M&S food and drink and will offer Collect in Store for Clothing & Home.
The 36 stores will create 1200 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, says: “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.”