Sunday, July 14

M&S to close 60 clothing store: Half-year profits drop 88%



Marks & Spencer has said it is to cut the number of its UK clothing and home stores by 60, as it reported an 88% fall in half-year profits.

The changes will mean the closure of 30 full line” stores offering all M&S ranges and the downsizing or replacing” of a further 45 to Simply Food stores, over the next five years.

Other stores will be relocated while some new full-line stores will be opened in underserved areas, M&S said.

Details of the changes confirm a story first reported last week by Sky News.

It follows a review launched by new M&S boss Steve Rowe earlier this year.

Mr Rowe said: “These are tough decisions, but vital to building a future M&S that is simpler, more relevant, multi-channel and focused on delivering sustainable returns.”

M&S reported a fall in profits to £25m for the six months to 1 October, compared to £216m for the same period a year ago.

The slump largely related to pension charges but underlying profits were also down, by 19%, thanks to lower clothing and home sales.

M&S currently has 304 “full-line” stores selling both from its food, and clothing and home, ranges. They account for two-thirds of its UK selling space.

But the company said: As customer shopping patterns change and customers migrate online, we need to manage our estate proactively to ensure that our clothing and home space is relevant for our customers and profitable for our shareholders.