Marks & Spencer has moved to plug the billion-pound hole in its pension scheme with an £800m funding plan.

The package includes cash contributions from the retailer of £35m a year for the next three years, rising to £60m a year until 2018.

Further contributions will come from diverting £300m of property to the pension fund.

“We’ve agreed a comprehensive funding plan with the pension scheme trustees that makes efficient use of our existing assets, providing the scheme with a substantial income to reduce the deficit, while ensuring our cash flow obligations are spread over a manageable timeframe,” said M&S finance director Ian Dyson.

Dyson last week announced his resignation from the group, dealing an early blow to the regime of new chief executive Marc Bolland.

The deficit in the M&S pension scheme stood at £1.3bn in March 2009 – slightly more than the shortfall revealed this week by Sainsbury’s.

The supermarket giant today unveiled plans to channel the proceeds of property worth £750m into its pension scheme to address the shortfall.

Read more
Early blow for Bolland as Dyson exits M&S (5 May 2010)
Gel-ignite: 20 challenges for Marc Bolland at M&S (10 April 2010)