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M&S to invest £30mn in Scottish stores, but will close Aberdeen St Nicholas branch

Image © Marks & Spencer

M&S has unveiled plans to invest £30mn in bricks and mortar stores across Scotland, but as it puts £15m into its Aberdeen Union Square retail park store it will close the city-centre St Nicholas site.

The retailer’s Aberdeen plans, which will begin next year, will see it expand the Union Square store to almost the double the size with a fresh market-style food hall full of new features including a flower shop, a cheese barge and larger in-store bakery. There will be a dedicated M&S Wine Shop, as well as bigger clothing, home and beauty departments – all designed to make shopping inspirational and easier than ever before.

M&S stressed it will work closely with the council and partners on the future development of the St Nicholas store.

Rachel Rankine, North East regional manager for M&S, said: “The scale of our investment is a vote of confidence in the future of retail in Aberdeen city centre, with a flagship store on the same scale as city centre stores in Birmingham and Liverpool. 

“Where we have already invested in new formats, our customers have responded to the destination shopping experience and Aberdeen shoppers can look forward to having a bigger, better, fresher food hall and the best in M&S clothing and home.”  

Alongside a new M&S foodhall coming to Linlithgow later this month, there’s more investment in the Northeast economy with a new full-line store in Dundee’s Gallagher Retail Park on track to open in Summer 2024. M&S will also open in Largs for the first time with a new foodhall due to open in early 2025.

M&S said Scotland is an important strategic sourcing location for it – with 2,500 Scottish farms in its supply chain and long-standing partnerships with companies such as Kettle Produce, McSween and Scottish Sea Farms. Many Scottish-sourced product lines are sold not just in 94 stores in Scotland but across a wider network of stores across the UK and beyond. 

Sacha Berendji, M&S operations director, added: “This is our biggest ever investment in Scotland, putting £30m into transforming the shopping experience for customers in Aberdeen, Largs, Dundee and Linlithgow – bringing new jobs across the country with bigger, better, fresh-market style foodhalls and new opportunities for Scottish shoppers to access our best-ever, most inspiringly presented clothing, home and beauty range. 

“Our investment in Scotland goes beyond new stores with M&S sourcing more Scottish produce than ever before, through strong partnerships with local producers. Around 2,500 Scottish farms, sea farms and fisheries supply us with great quality products, many supplied beyond Scotland to M&S stores across the UK. Our commitment to Scotland has never been stronger.”

The Scottish investment reflects M&S’ aim to become the UK’s leading omnichannel retailer, with its store rotation programme designed to ensure M&S has the right stores, in the right place with the right space. The retailer is aiming to rotate from a base of 247 stores across the UK to 180 higher quality, higher productivity full line stores that sell its Clothing, Home and Food ranges, while also opening over 100 bigger, better food sites by FY27/28. 

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