Marks & Spencer Group (LON:MKS) plans to close up to 14 more stores, the company has said. The move comes as the blue-chip retailer continues with its transformation under chief executive Steve Rowe.
Marks & Spencer’s share price has fallen into the red in today’s session, having given up 0.59 percent to 303.30p as of 13:17 GMT. The stock is underperforming the broader UK market, with the benchmark FTSE 100 index currently standing 0.1 percent lower at 7,580.47 points. The group’s shares have lost just under 10 percent of their value over the past year, as compared with a near seven-percent rise in the Footsie.
M&S to close stores
Marks & Spencer announced in a statement today that it was planning to close 14 stores as part of its programme to reposition about 25 percent of its Clothing & Home space through a combination of closures, downsizes, relocations and conversions to food-only stores. Six stores are set to close by the end of April, with another eight proposed for closure.
“Stores will always be an integral part of our customer experience, alongside M&S.com, but we have to ensure we have the right offer in the right locations,” Sacha Berendji, Director of Retail at Marks & Spencer, commented in the statement, adding that while the retailer would ‘endeavour’ to offer affected staff alternative roles, in some cases it might have to consider redundancy. The company noted that all staff from the six stores closing in April will move to nearby stores, while 468 employees who would be affected by the proposals to close eight stores will now enter a period of consultation.
Simply Food update
Marks & Spencer further noted that it had reassessed its ‘Simply Food’ opening programme and was now planning to open a total of 36 owned and franchise stores over the next six months, down from an earlier guidance of 80 stores. Earlier this month, the blue-chip retailer disappointed investors, revealing a drop in both its clothing and food sales for the 13 weeks to December 30.