The retailer today announced 14 Clothing & Home stores will shut before the end of 2019, in addition to the 21 that have already done so.
Those proposed for closure are Bayswater, Fleetwood outlet and Newton Abbot outlet, due to close by the end of July 2018, Clacton and Holloway Road, which will both close by early 2019 as new nearby Food stores open, as well as Darlington, East Kilbride, Falkirk, Kettering, Newmarket, New Mersey Speke, Northampton, Stockton and Walsall. These nine branches will enter consultation with the 626 affected members of staff. Should they close, all employees will be redeployed or offered redeployment at other stores before redundancy is considered.
There will also be 15 fewer Simply Food stores opening this year as M&S scales back its Food business plans.
The changes come as part of M&S’s five-year plan announced 18 months ago to make the upmarket retailer “special again” by reducing the amount of shop floor space devoted to clothing and make the retailer more efficient and commercial.
M&S said the closures were in line with its target to take at least a third of sales online, and come alongside relocations, conversions, downsizes and the introduction of concessions. The closures would radically reshape its Clothing & Home business.
“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,” said Sacha Berendji, M&S’s retail, operations and property director. “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.”