Marks & Spencer to close one in four bigger stores amid rising costs

Marks & Spencer Simply Food store in Palmers Green, north London, which is due to close soon.
Marks & Spencer is trying to cut down costs in the face of a 'difficult economic backdrop'. Photo: Getty (PA)

Marks & Spencer (MKS.L) is planning to close one in every four (25%) of its bigger stores selling clothing and homeware, replacing them with more than 100 new Simply Food smaller outlets.

The retailer said it would cut the number of full line stores by 67 before 2028 to take the total to 180 from the current 247.

In a plan to concentrate on food, the retailer will open 104 Simply Food stores to take the total number to 420.

Marks & Spencer is speeding up its turnaround plan in the face of a “difficult economic backdrop” and rising costs. Despite the plan lasting over five-years, it will try to complete the move as quickly as possible, with three years being its ideal aim.

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M&S said the turnaround plan would not necessarily see the retailer leaving a town, but could include the closure of an older high street store, and the opening of a new outlet at an out-of-town retail park.

It gave the example of Llandudno in north Wales, where such a change had already taken place.

M&S previously announced 110 stores will close, the 67 stores announced today are included in this figure but the closures will be accelerated.

Marks & Spencer has not confirmed which stores will be closing.

In the face of the cost of living crisis, M&S said that value was becoming customers’ top priority, although the company said it was also facing “significant cost headwinds”.

On costs it said it had seen wage inflation of around 7% and it expected more to come in 2023.

Energy costs were £40m ($44.2m) higher than planned and without support, it faced possible headwinds of more than £100m next year.

Read more: Cost of living: UK's cheapest supermarket revealed

It cited a “background of adverse macro-economic conditions” as the key reason for increasing the pace of change to create a “higher productivity business reducing costs, increasing margins and shifting volume into growth categories and channels”.

The retailer has said its store overhaul plan should save around £309m in rent costs.

Yahoo Finance UK has requested a full list of the planned store closures from Marks & Spencer.

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