Marks & Spencer is shutting 30 UK stores and converting 45 more into food-only shops as part of a major business overhaul that will slash the amount of shop floor space devoted to its ailing clothing ranges.
The retailer’s new chief executive, Steve Rowe, said more than 100 UK stores were in the firing line as part of a wider shakeup designed to end a long-running slump in clothing sales and devote more space to its more successful food business. He outlined plans to open 200 new Simply Food outlets.
M&S refused to identify which 30 “full-line” stores – which sell clothing, home wares and food – are to close or identify the 45 outlets that will be converted into food stores. The chain has 304 full-line stores and the closures and conversions will take five years to complete.
The retailer is also looking to relocate underperforming stores. Overall, the changes will mean a reduction of 10% in the floor space devoted to racks of skirts, jumpers and trousers, with the plan expected to cost £150m over three years.