Published: Wed, May 23, 2018
Business | By Tara Barton

M&S to close 100 UK stores by 2022

M&S to close 100 UK stores by 2022

While Marks & Spencer has dominated the United Kingdom clothing market for decades, its position as the clothes retailer with the largest market share is now "perilously close to being lost to Primark this year", according to Maureen Hinton of data firm GlobalData.

The firm, which has struggled in recent years aside from its food offering, wants to trim its estate.

Of the 100 stores, 21 have already been shut and M&S has now revealed the location of 14 further sites to close.

In a statement, the company said there will be relocations, conversions, downsizes and the introduction of concessions, to "radically reshape" M&S's Clothing & Home space.

Sacha Berendji, retail, operations and property director at Marks & Spencer said: "Closing stores isn't easy but it is vital for the future of M&S".

M&S is well known for its grocery stores offering a range of M&S-branded items and ready-made meals.

The company's chairman is Archie Norman - formerly MP for Tunbridge Wells.

M&S faces unrelenting competition both in clothing and food on the high street and online, while efforts to revitalise its business are being hampered by an ongoing squeeze on consumers' spending power.

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Maureen Hinton, from analytics firm GlobalData, said M&S was "perilously close" to losing its top spot in the United Kingdom clothing market to Primark. M&S said they would be offered redeployment before redundancy was considered.

Maureen Hinton, group retail research director at GlobalData, notes after dominating the United Kingdom clothing market for decades, M&S is "perilously close" to losing its status as the number one clothing retailer to Primark.

M&S shares were down 2.6% at 292p in afternoon trading on Tuesday.

Making the announcement today, a spokesman said more and more sales were moving online which has contributed to the decision.

"In 2018 GlobalData forecasts its shares will be 7.6% in clothing - virtually halving in two decades".

In 2016 he became M&S boss but has been tasked with having cut jobs and stores as its profits have started to suffer in recent years. The retailer had planned to open 200 more food stores from 2017. Out of the current top 20 United Kingdom retailers, only the Arcadia Group has lost more share (-3.1ppts) and it sold the BHS chain during this period.

"We've seen a much better retention rate than we expected", M&S said. It also has stores that boast fashion and homeware products.

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