Marks & Spencer to shut 30 UK stores in major restructure plan

Marks & Spencer will close 30 UK clothing and home stores and exit 10 international markets over the next five years, as part of a major restructure plan.

Under the leadership of new CEO Steve Rowe, the high street retailer will also close down 45 clothing and home departments, which feature lingerie and nightwear, and replace them with its more successful Simply Food halls.

Rowe announced today that internationally, M&S will shut 53 stores in 10 loss-making markets, including 10 in China, seven in France and all its shops in Belgium, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania and Slovakia.

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“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,” he said.

The news came as M&S recorded an 88% plunge in pre-tax profits for the 26 weeks to October 1.

This was driven by fewer clothing and home sales, which dropped 5.3% on the same period last year, and a £200million injection into the retailer’s pension fund.

Commenting on the closures, Rowe said: “Our aim is to build a sustainable business which will delight our customers, provide a robust foundation for future growth and deliver value for our shareholders in the long term. We have made good progress on our plans and customers are already noticing a difference, particularly in Clothing & Home.”

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