Marks & Spencer has announced plans to shut six of its UK stores in a bid to modernise its national store estate.
The retailer announced today (Wednesday, January 31) that branches in Birkenhead, Bournemouth, Durham, Fforestfach, Putney and Redditch will close – with all colleagues moving to nearby stores.
Stores in Chester, Cheshire Oaks and Broughton are unaffected by the plans, although a further eight stores are proposed for closure in Andover, Basildon, Bridlington, Denton (Outlet), Falmouth, Fareham, Keighley and Stockport.
Four hundred and sixty eight colleagues from these branches will be affected by the proposals and will now enter a period of consultation where should they close, all colleagues would be redeployed or offered redeployment at other stores before redundancy is considered.
Sacha Berendji, director of retail at Marks & Spencer, said: “We’re committed to transforming M&S for our customers, colleagues and shareholders. Stores will always be an integral part of our customer experience, alongside M&S.com, but we have to ensure we have the right offer in the right locations.
“We don’t want any colleagues to leave M&S and we will work with each colleague individually on what is best for them as we endeavour to give everyone a role. However, we accept in some cases we may have to consider redundancy.
“We believe these changes are vital for the future of M&S and we will continue to accelerate the programme, taking tough but necessary decisions, as we focus on making M&S special.”
The update follows M&S’s announcement in November that it is accelerating its UK store estate plan after the better than expected levels of sales transfer from closures and plans to grow online sales.