By Michele Maatouk
Date: Thursday 20 Apr 2017
(ShareCast News) - Marks & Spencer has announced plans to open 36 new stores in the next six months, as part of its five-year programme to improve the UK store estate.
The retailer, which is also consulting with staff over the proposed closure of six stores, said the new stores include Foodhalls in Bishopsgate in London, Huntingdon, Aylesbury, Spinningfields in central Manchester and Strood in Kent. In addition, there will be brand new locations for M&S with Clothing, Home and Food stores opening in Bracknell and Rushden in July.
The company said the store openings would create more than 1,400 new customer assistant and management jobs.
The shops on the list to be shut include Monks Cross, Portsmouth, Slough, Warrington and Worksop, and M&S said if the proposals go ahead, the 380 affected employees would be guaranteed redeployment at a near-by store.
Chief executive Steve Rowe said: "M&S stores will always be an integral part of our customer offer, working seamlessly alongside our website, M&S.com, to deliver great products and service to our customers. However, our customers' shopping habits are changing. Picking up food for now or tonight rather than doing one big shop or browsing and shopping online and collecting in store are great examples of this and we are committed to adapting our business so that we stay in tune with our customers.
"This means there will be more M&S colleagues working in an increased number of convenient locations, serving more customers. It also means that we will open new stores, some will reduce in size, some will move, some will close and others will convert to Food-only. Each proposal we make will be very carefully considered with our colleagues and customers firmly front of mind. It is our intention that nobody leaves M&S and we will work as hard as possible to ensure that we can deliver against this promise."
M&S currently has 959 UK stores-- 304 full line stores, 615 Food-only stores and 40 Outlets.
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