Marks and Spencer now aims to make a third of its sales online. © Google
UK retailer Marks and Spencer will close over 100 stores in the country by 2022 as part of a “radical transformation” to make at least a third of its sales online.
Among the closures, 21 have already shut and 14 have been announced today. The company has lowered its ambitions for its Simply Food chain: 40 stores were due to open this year but that figure has been cut to 25.
The retailer is reeling from falling revenues in the final three months of 2017, with like-for-like sales at its food business down during a disappointing Christmas period.
In November 2017, the company set out a five-year transformation programme, which included the slowdown of its Simply Food store opening programme, the sale and franchise of its retail business in Hong Kong and Macau and the acceleration of the UK store estate closure programme.
Sacha Berendji, Marks and Spencer retail, operations and property director, said: “We are making good progress with our plans to reshape our store estate to be more relevant to our customers and support our online growth plans.
“Closing stores isn’t easy but it is vital for the future of M&S. Where we have closed stores, we are seeing an encouraging number of customers moving to nearby stores and enjoying shopping with us in a better environment, which is why we’re continuing to transform our estate with pace.”
The closures come as the UK’s retail industry undergoes a seismic shift as two of the country’s ‘Big Four’ supermarkets, Sainsbury’s and Asda, have agreed to merge.
Kantar Worldpanel estimates that Asda and Sainsbury’s combined share of 31.4% of the UK grocery market will eclipse current market leader Tesco’s 27.6%.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2019