M&S plans to close up to 14 stores

Alicia Cross
February 3, 2018

Marks & Spencer has confirmed plans to close up to 14 stores, putting almost 500 jobs at risk in what it said were "vital" changes for the future of the high street retailer.

The retailer said staff will be offered redeployment at other stores before redundancy is considered.

Nigel Atkinson, head of Bridlington Renaissance, said: "Today's national announcement by M&S that it is proposing to close a number of stores across the country, including its shop in Bridlington, is disappointing news".

It includes closing and relocating stores, reducing clothing and home space as well as converting some shops to food-only outlets.

The six stores to close by April are Bournemouth, Birkenhead, Durham, Fforestfach in Swansea, Putney and Redditch.

Sacha Berendji, the company's director of retail, said: "We're committed to transforming M&S for our customers, colleagues and shareholders. However, we accept in some cases we may have to consider redundancy".

M&S has said its proposed closures are part of its programme to modernise its United Kingdom store estate, "to better meet the changing needs of customers".

M&S said 468 colleagues are affected by the proposals and will now enter a period of consultation.

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The store closures and reduced opening programme are part of the retailer's five-year transformation plan, which was announced in November.

He added that click and collect, which has helped other retailers, was less popular with M&S customers who tended to be older and less keen on that option.

It appears that promise to accelerate the closure programme is being fulfilled.

What do the analysts say?

"The retail giants are facing turbulent times with competitive pressure from discount rivals and online sales".

He said some stores had become unprofitable due to rising business rates and higher staff costs. He said: "These are for the most part under-sized/poorly configured high street stores in small town centres".

The retail expert Jonathan De Mello described the closures as a "necessary move" for the company and "more closures need to happen for M & S to optimise its estate".

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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