Marks and Spencer store closures: why high street retailer M&S is shutting 67 stores - will new ones open?

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A trading update reveals Marks & Spencer will close 67 stores over the next five years.

Marks & Spencer has said it will close 67 stores over the next five years in a trading update.

This comes after the retailer said it will be closing 32 more stores, due to Brexit, the war in Ukraine and local and national government policies for hitting profits. The department store said many stores have “lost impetus” and admitted it was facing “increasing cost pressures and consumer uncertainty”. It has not revealed the location of the stores which are shutting.

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The retailer plans to change the focus of large aspects of its business, shifting away from multi-floor town centre buildings to instead focus on edge of town sites with better access and car parking. M&S said it also plans to open 104 new “bigger and fresher” food outlets as part of the cutting store estate bill.

Why is Marks & Spencer making this change? 

The closures are part of a tranche of 110 stores that M&S had previously announced were shutting, however today the plans confirmed that 67 closures have been accelerated.

The retailer faces a tough consumer backdrop, rising inflation and a £100million hit from soaring energy costs. Marks & Spencer has already closed 68 stores in recent years, but the pandemic interrupted plans to cut down the rent bill. It also previously said it is focusing on moving into retail parks to help with footfall.

What has Marks & Spencer said?

In a statement, M&S said: “At the year-end we set out our goal of achieving a modernised full line estate of c.180 stores through store rotation, reflecting the accelerated channel shift post pandemic.

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“Rotation means closing at least 110 locations and relocating to either a new full line or food-only store and in many cases consolidating multiple stores into one.”

In a statement when 32 stores were announced to be closed, M&S said: “We recognise that in an omni-channel world, ease of shopping and fast access is critical to competitiveness, and in many cases we believe the town centre locations have lost impetus as a result of failed local authority or government policy. As a result, a high proportion, but not all, of our relocations are to the edge of town.

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