Sunday, 19 August, 2018


Marks and Spencer propose to close two stores in our region

M&S which rebranded itself as Markle and Sparkle for the royal wedding has revealed that it will close 100 stores in the next four years in a new terrible blow to Britain's high streets Marks and Spencer propose to close two stores in our region
Conrad Doyle | 23 May, 2018, 23:38

Marks & Spencer now operates 1025 stores in the United Kingdom, with turnover respectively split 60%/40% between its food and clothing and home segments.

The firm, which has struggled in recent years aside from its food offering, wants to trim its estate.

The retailer, which has already shut 21 outlets included in the figure, said it had identified a further 14 clothing and home stores to be shut in its current financial year. It plans to relocate, convert and downsize other stores and "radically" reshape its clothing and homewares business.

"Closing stores isn't easy but it is vital for the future of M&S", said retail director Sacha Berendji. "Where we have closed stores, we are seeing an encouraging number of customers moving to nearby stores".

Last month M&S closed its store on Silver Street in Durham city centre as it switched investment to its branch at the nearby Arnison Centre.

It was accelerated a year later when Archie Norman, a retail veteran and former boss of Asda, arrived as chairman.

They are reducing their focus on clothing and home, in a major blow to United Kingdom high streets. All staff will be offered redeployment before redundancy is considered.

"The closure of yet more stores will hasten the decline unless it can shift the lost sales to its online channel and transfer to its other stores", she says.

They will concentrate on expanding its online operation in the hope it will bring in a third of all sales by 2022 and squeeze more cash out of its hugely successful food business.

'Usdaw has thousands of members working for Marks & Spencer and the staff now need, more than ever, the representation and support of an independent trade union. Its position seemed unassailable, but since then its market share has been on a declining trend, Hinton explains.

The scaling-back of its store estate was launched in November 2016 by Steve Rowe, who rose from the shop floor to chief executive.

Marks & Spencer has scrapped plans to open 15 food stores too.

"We've seen a much better retention rate than we expected", M&S said. "Closing stores will make its space more productive and help to improve profitability, but it still has not solved its fundamental problem - top-line growth".

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