May 22, 2018 / 10:37 AM / a year ago

M&S to close 100 UK stores by 2022

LONDON (Reuters) - British retailer Marks & Spencer said on Tuesday it would close over 100 stores in its home market by 2022, accelerating a programme to re-shape its store estate as more sales move online.

A sign is seen on the exterior of a branch of Marks and Spencer in central London, Britain, November 3, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville/Files

The figure includes 21 that have already closed and 14 stores newly identified for closure.

M&S first said it would reposition its store estate in 2016 to reduce the amount of space devoted to clothing and home.

Then in November last year, three months after retail veteran Archie Norman joined as chairman, the firm said it would speed up the programme. It said it had not lost as many customers as expected when stores closed, making quicker and further closures viable.

Tuesday’s announcement represents a further step-up in the plan.

“Alongside relocations, conversions, downsizes and the introduction of concessions, these closures will radically reshape M&S’s clothing and home space,” the firm said.

The latest tranche of closures will impact 626 employees. All staff will be offered redeployment before redundancy is considered.

“Closing stores isn’t easy but it is vital for the future of M&S,” said retail director Sacha Berendji.

M&S also said 15 fewer owned Simply Food stores would open this year as its food opening programme is further scaled back.

Shares in M&S, down 24 percent over the last year, were down 1.6 percent at 0924 GMT.

Reporting by James Davey, Editing by Paul Sandle and Alistair Smout

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