Marks & Spencer today set out its latest thinking on how digital will work alongside its shops as it announced plans to close 14 stores.
The multichannel food to fashion retailer, an Elite retailer in IRUK Top500 research, said it now intends to close more than 100 stores in total by 2022 as it sets its sights on making at least a third of its turnover online. The closures are part of a five-year transformation programme, started in 2016 and accelerated in 2017, aimed at making M&S special again. The plan envisages fewer but better clothing and home stores that are larger and conveniently located. These stores will be more inspirational, featuring both digital in the store and supported by multichannel services including next-day collection of clothing and home items from food stores. M&S plans a “seamless online experience across all digital channels including mobile and social.”
The total of 100 stores set to be closed includes 21 that have already closed and 14 announced today – in sites from London’s Bayswater and Holloway Road to East Kilbride, Northampton and Darlington. In total 626 staff would be affected by the move, which is now subject to consultation. M&S says that should the stores close, staff would be offered redeployment rather than redundancy.
Most of today’s closures have an impact on the retailer’s clothing and home space, but the retailer is also slowing the pace at which it is opening its Simply Food stores. Fifteen fewer than expected will open this year, while the 14 closures announced today include a Simply Food in Bayswater.
Sacha Berendji, retail, operations and property director at M&S said: “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. 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.”
Image courtesy of M&S