M&S Purley Way (pre-opening)

Source: M&S

A 38,000 sq ft M&S has opened on Croydon’s Purley Way

M&S is to invest £12.5m in stores in London in the year ahead, creating 200 jobs.

It will bring its total investment in the capital in its 2022/23 financial year to £23m, and the total number of jobs created to 400, according to the retailer.

M&S announced the news ahead of the opening tomorrow (27 April) of a 38,000 sq ft store on Croydon’s Purley Way.

Later this year it plans to open a new Foodhall in Earlsfield, as well as undertaking a full renewal of its Victoria Cardinal Place store.

The plans also include a new Foodhall in Liverpool Street Station and a relaunch of M&S Waterloo Station through franchise partnerships.

“M&S has been innovating in London for over a hundred years,” said M&S CEO Stuart Machin. “We’re proud that many of our high street ‘firsts’ were born in the capital – from operating a chain of penny bazaars across London in the early 20th century, to opening our first ever Simply Food here in 2001, and trialling our first new-look Foodhall design in Clapham in 2019.

“Today, a third of all M&S stores are located in London – whether in train stations, shopping centres, or high streets – and today’s investment shows that we are committed to offering shoppers in our great capital city the best of M&S for the next 100 years and beyond.”

M&S has over 100 stores in the capital.

Defending its plans to redevelop its flagship Marble Arch store, a move subject to a public inquiry ordered by levelling up secretary Michael Gove, M&S said Oxford Street had declined “from the jewel in the crown of UK retail to fake candy stores and empty buildings”.

The redevelopment, which is included in the London investment, would “create thousands of jobs, an improved public realm, and will be a modern, sustainable flag-bearing store”, the retailer said.

In January, M&S announced plans to open 20 ‘bigger and better’ stores in its next financial year, made up of eight full-line stores selling its complete clothing, home and food ranges, and 12 Foodhalls.

M&S is also closing 67 underperforming full-line stores in high streets and opening 104 Simply Food branches, in plans announced previously.