Marks & Spencer has, as anticipated, announced it is ramping up its store closure plan with 100 stores to be closed by 2022 as the business undergoes a radical restructuring of its UK store estate.
The retailer has already closed 21 stores (18 closures and three closures and relocations), which form part of the 100 figure, and a further 14 proposed closures have been announced this morning. M&S has stated that its aim is to achieve on third of its sales online.
Retail, operations and property director Sacha Berendji said the business had been encouraged by the response to store closures already carried out with many customers taking their spend to nearby M&S stores instead.
“We are making good progress with our plans to reshape our store estate to be more relevant to our customers and support our online growth plans. 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,” he said.
The closures are part of a transformation programme aimed at creating fewer, better Clothing & Home stores, which will be digitally enabled to bridge the online and offline experiences. It is also opening more conveniently located, local food stores that will offer next day in-store click and collect for online Clothing & Home purchases. However a planned rapid rolled out of Simply Food outlets has been slowed down with 15 fewer than originally planned set to open this year.
The next 14 Clothing & Home stores that will close or are proposed for closure in 2018/19 as part of the transformation programme are:
- Bayswater, Fleetwood Outlet and Newton Abbot Outlet – all three of which will close by the end of July 2018
- Clacton and Holloway Road – which will both close by early 2019 to coincide with new nearby Food stores opening
- Darlington, East Kilbride, Falkirk, Kettering, Newmarket, New Mersey Speke, Northampton, Stockton and Walsall – all nine of which are proposed for closure and will now enter a period of consultation with all 626 affected employees. Should these stores close, all staff would be redeployed or offered redeployment at other stores before redundancy is considered
All of the stores proposed for closure have nearby M&S stores with the nearest being 0.2 miles and the furthest being 14 miles away.
Marks & Spencer will be announcing its annual results tomorrow morning.