"Radical transformation": Marks & Spencer to close more than 100 stores by 2022
23 May, 2018, 21:57 | Author: Billie Castillo
British retailer Marks & Spencer MKS.L plans to close more than 100 stores in its home market by 2022, accelerating a drive to re-shape its business as it strives to make at least a third of sales online.
The company is tipped to unveil plans to shut 40 of its larger outlets that sell both food and clothes, according to reports, but the retailer declined to confirm if any of its North-East stores were at risk under plans to shut town centre stores and open more Simply Food outlets on retail parks.
The retailer listed the 14 locations - saying its Bayswater store and Fleetwood and Newton Abbot outlets would shut their doors for the final time by the end of July.
Darlington, East Kilbride, Falkirk, Kettering, Newmarket, New Mersey Speke, Northampton, Stockton and Walsall are proposed for closure and will now enter a period of consultation with all 626 affected employees. Should these stores close, all colleagues would be redeployed or offered redeployment at other stores before redundancy is considered, M&S said.
"Closing stores isn't easy but it is vital for the future of M&S", said Sacha Berendji, retail, operations and property director at M&S.
He said that where stores have already closed, "encouraging" numbers of consumers were now shopping at nearby stores.
The scaling-back of its store estate was launched in November 2016 by Steve Rowe, who rose from the shop floor to chief executive.
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They are reducing their focus on clothing and home, in a major blow to United Kingdom high streets.
Online shopping accounts for 22% of non-food retail sales in the United Kingdom, according to the British Retail Consortium.
The firm earmarked 14 stores for closure yesterday with a total of 872 employees affected.
Last year, retail veteran Archie Norman took over as chairman.
Shares in M&S were down 3 percent at 1017 GMT. But this was to be partly offset by as many as 15 new main stores and up to 200 more Simply Food outlets.
Maureen Hinton, from analytics firm GlobalData, said M&S was "perilously close" to losing its top spot in the United Kingdom clothing market to Primark.
"We've seen a much better retention rate than we expected", M&S said. "John Lewis' 49 stores generate virtually the same revenue with half the space plus its online business".
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