Will Kent stores close as M&S confirms 100 shops to shut?

Roman Schwartz
May 23, 2018

A question mark hangs over the future of Kent's Marks & Spencer shops after the chain confirmed it would be closing 100 stores over the next four years.

Of the 100 M&S store closures, 36 locations have been announced with the sites of the further 64 stores yet to be revealed.

The brand wants to become "more relevant" to customers and expand its growth online - M&S wants a third of it sales to be made through its website.

"Closing stores isn't easy but it is vital for the future of M&S", says Sacha Berendji, retail, operations and property director at Marks & Spencer.

He said that where stores have already closed, "encouraging" numbers of consumers were now shopping at nearby stores.

Retail veteran Archie Norman, who took over as M&S chairman a year ago, said the retailer has been "drifting" and promised to speed up changes.

The retail giant says it is "accelerating" its strategy transformation strategy launched in November past year as it focuses more on food and online sales.

Should the stores close, all colleagues would be redeployed or offered redeployment at other branches before redundancy is considered.

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As of the end of March, the retailer had 1,035 United Kingdom stores, made up of 300 clothing, home and food stores, 696 food-only stores and 39 outlets.

He added: "Usdaw has thousands of members working for Marks & Spencer and the staff now need, more than ever, the representation and support of an independent trade union".

Ms Hinton said: "The closure of yet more stores will hasten the decline unless it can shift the lost sales to its online channel and transfer to its other stores".

Online shopping accounts for 22% of non-food retail sales in the United Kingdom, according to the British Retail Consortium.

M&S shares were down 2.6% at 292p in afternoon trading on Tuesday.

"In 2018 GlobalData forecasts its shares will be 7.6% in clothing - virtually halving in two decades".

M&S's closure plans form part of an new business model which will see the firm create "fewer, better" clothing and home stores.

GlobalData has forecast that its clothing market share will be 7.6% this year - nearly halving in two decades - despite opening more stores selling clothing, homewares and food under the one roof. "John Lewis' 49 stores generate virtually the same revenue with half the space plus its online business".

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