M&S Warrington to close as retailers change tack

The Marks & Spencer store in Warrington’s Golden Square is one of six UK shops facing closure, the retailer confirmed today in the latest update on its five-year estates programme.

The group is to open 36 new stores over the next six months, including a major push on its Foodhall format, which is to open in No. 1 Spinningfields, Manchester.

In total, 1,400 new jobs will be created by the store openings, M&S said, while employees affected by closures will be offered employment at nearby stores.

Steve Rowe, chief executive, said: “M&S stores will always be an integral part of our customer offer. However, our customers’ shopping habits are changing. Picking up food for now or tonight rather than doing one big shop, or browsing and shopping online and collecting in store are great examples of this and we are committed to adapting our business so that we stay in tune with our customers.

“This means there will be more M&S colleagues working in an increased number of convenient locations, serving more customers. It also means that we will open new stores, some will reduce in size, some will move, some will close and others will convert to food-only.”

M&S announced its estates programme in November, with Oldham being one of the first victims as the retailer opted not to take up its option for a 51,000 sq ft full line store in the town, although it is still considering Oldham locations for a food-only store.

Debenhams also announced today that 10 of its stores deemed to be at risk of becoming loss-making within five years could be closed, or turned into outlet stores as new chief executive Sergio Bucher introduced plans to make the group’s stores more amenable to “social shopping”.

The locations under threat have not been named. Debenhams is also to shut one of its three main distribution hubs and ten smaller facilities, all operated by DHL.

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