Marks & Spencer (M&S) is to continue opening new Simply Food sites despite scaling back the expansion programme and increasing the number of Clothing stores it plans to close to more than 100 by 2022.
The retailer on Tuesday announced that a further 14 Clothing & Home stores would close by 2022, taking the total to more than 100 stores when including the 21 that have already closed since November 2016, when it launched its store estate programme.
It also said 15 fewer company-owned Simply Food stores would open in 2018/19, but around 30 are still earmarked to open over the financial year.
On Wednesday M&S announced that pre-tax profits plummeted by 62.1% to £66.8m in the year ending 31 March. Food revenue grew by 3.9%, driven by new stores, but like-for-like food sales dropped by 0.3%.
Last year M&S announced plans to open up to 100 new Simply Food stores per year until 2019/20, but it had already scaled back the programme before Tuesday’s announcement.
The Simply Food franchise programme would continue to expand at about 20-40 sites this year, a spokeswoman told C-Store.
The locations of new Simply Food stores opening this year include West Park Darlington, Oban, Colindale, Selly Oak, Westbridge Park Stone, East Dulwich and Thorpe Park Leeds.
M&S retail, operations and property director, Sacha Berendji, 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.”
The next 14 Clothing & Home stores that will close or are proposed for closure in 2018/19 are:
Bayswater, Fleetwood Outlet and Newton Abbot Outlet – all three of which will close by the end of July 2018;
Clacton and Holloway Road – which will both close by early 2019 to coincide with new nearby Food stores opening;
Darlington, East Kilbride, Falkirk, Kettering, Newmarket, New Mersey Speke, Northampton, Stockton and Walsall – all nine of which are proposed for closure and will now enter a period of consultation with all 626 affected employees.