Marks & Spencer Plans Further UK Store Closures
UK retailer Marks & Spencer has announced that it is closing six stores across the country, with plans to shut a further eight branches.
M&S stores in Birkenhead, Bournemouth, Durham, Fforestfach, Putney and Redditch are all set to close by the end of April, with all staff moving to nearby stores.
The retailer has also proposed the closure of stores in Andover, Basildon, Bridlington, Falmouth, Fareham, Keighley and Stockport, and an outlet in Denton.
M&S says that it has now entered into consultation with the 468 staff members affected by the moves.
“Stores will always be an integral part of our customer experience, alongside M&S.com, but we have to ensure we have the right offer in the right locations,” said Sacha Berendji, director of retail at Marks & Spencer.
“We believe these changes are vital for the future of M&S, and we will continue to accelerate the programme, taking tough but necessary decisions as we focus on making M&S special,” Berendji continued.
The retail director said that the company will work with staff and “endeavour to give everyone a role”, but added that “in some cases, we may have to consider redundancy”.
This comes amid a significant number of job cuts in the UK supermarket sector, with both Tesco and Sainsbury’s announcing plans to cut and restructure roles last week.
“This is the third time in a matter of weeks we’ve heard of job cuts impacting some of the UK’s biggest stores,” said Martin Lane, managing editor of Money.co.uk.
“The retail giants are facing turbulent times, with competitive pressure from discount rivals and online sales. It’s not entirely surprising M&S are taking this approach after suffering with poor Christmas results,” Lane added.
Marks & Spencer also recently announced that it has reassessed and reduced the opening programme for its Simply Food stores, and now only plans to open a total of 36 owned and franchised stores over the next six months.
New locations will include Broadstone, Streatham Hill and St Albans, creating 1,200 management and customer-assistant roles.
The store closures and reduced opening programme are part of the retailer’s five-year transformation plan, which was announced in November.
M&S has already unveiled a number of new measures since the beginning of the year, including the introduction of a new cost-cutting IT programme and the restructuring of its marketing team. The group also named Dixons Carphone exec Humphrey Singer as its new chief finance officer.
These moves are being seen as an attempt to end the financial year on a high, following a relatively disappointing performance during its third quarter.
Although most of the UK’s food retailers saw positive growth over the Christmas period, M&S reported a mixed trading period, with food sales down by 0.4% and clothing and home sales down by 2.8%.
M&S currently operates 1,025 stores in the UK, including 302 clothing, home and food stores, 684 food-only stores, and 39 retail outlets.
© 2018 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Sarah Harford. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.