Marks & Spencer has put the brakes on its Simply Food store-opening programme as part of a programme to “modernise” its UK store estate.

The retailer now only plans to open a total of 36 Simply Food stores over the next six months, with locations including Broadstone, Streatham Hill and St Albans.

These stores will sell M&S food and drink and offer a click and collect service for ‘Clothing & Home’.

Last year M&S increased its Simply Food opening programme from 200 to 250 stores by 2019/20, with up to 100 new sites earmarked per year.

Marks & Spencer director of retail Sacha Berendji said: “We’re committed to transforming M&S for our customers, colleagues and shareholders. Stores will always be an integral part of our customer experience, alongside M&, but we have to ensure we have the right offer in the right locations.

“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.”

M&S currently operates 684 Food sites.