M&S earmarks 17 more stores for closure

Marks and Spencer has announced plans to close a further 17 stores as part of its restructuring strategy in a move that could see 1,000 jobs axed in the next three years.

The embattled High Street retailer set out plans in May to close 100 stores by 2022 and move resources into digital transformation as consumers increasingly shift their spending to e-commerce sites. Thirty sites have already been closed.

The latest stores have been earmarked for closure as the company confirmed an online target of at least a third of sales on the M&S website.

The company said it hopes to retain as many staff members as possible.

The 17 stores are located in: Ashford, Barrow, Bedford, Boston, Buxton, Cwmbran, Deal, Felixstowe, Huddersfield, Hull, Antrim Junction, Luton Arndale, Newark, Northwich, Rotherham, Sutton Coldfield and Weston-Super-Mare.

The move comes after M&S reported a 2.2 per cent fall in like-for-like sales over the crucial Christmas trading period, underpinned by a 2.1 per cent in food sales.

Third quarter revenue was down 2.7 per cent at £2.78 million, while online sales grew 14 per cent over the period.

The company said the results showed a “steady” like-for-like performance while the transformation programme was “on track”.

Sacha Berendji, retail, operations and property director at Marks & Spencer said: “Proposing to close stores is never easy, for our colleagues, customers or the local community, but it is vital for the future of M&S.

"Where we have closed stores, we are continuing to see an encouraging number of customers choosing other nearby locations and shopping on M&S.com."

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