M&S plan a further 30 store closures across the UK amid £201m losses

Marks & Spencer is planning to close 30 stores as part of the “next phase” of its long-term transformation plan.

The move comes as the British retail giant suffered heavy losses throughout the coronavirus pandemic which led to high street lockdowns.

The 30 planned closures are part of a company-wide shake-up of around 110 stores which will see the majority of sites set for relocation.

M&S has already closed or relocated 59 stores but said it is accelerating changes to its portfolio of shops following the impact of the pandemic.

M&S tumbled to a £201.2 million pre-tax loss for the year to March 27 after its clothing and home business was particularly hammered by pandemic restrictions

It follows a £67.2 million statutory profit in the previous year.

M&S said the impact of the pandemic has provided it with a strong opportunity to purchase new locations, with the group currently targeting six new stores in former Debenhams units.

The group current has 254 full-line stores, which sell food and clothing, but it plans to reduce this to around 180 over the next 10 years, with some of these being replaced by food-only or purely clothing and home sites.

Steve Rowe, chief executive at Marks & Spencer, said: “In a year like no other we have delivered a resilient trading performance, thanks in no small part to the extraordinary efforts of our colleagues.

“In addition, by going further and faster in our transformation through the Never The Same Again programme, we moved beyond fixing the basics to forge a reshaped M&S.

“With the right team in place to accelerate change in the trading businesses and build a trajectory for future growth, we now have a clear line of sight on the path to make M&S special again.

“The transformation has moved to the next phase.”

Bournemouth Echo | News