May 26, 2021

M&S steps up store rationalisation after £209m loss 

Marks and Spencer has said it will accelerate the overhaul of its store estate, potentially taking on multiple sites vacated by Debenhams but relocating or closing stores at more than 100 other locations. "There has rarely been a better time to acquire new replacement stores on good terms and we are planning 17 new or expanded"full-line" stores over the next two years, including a number of former Debenhams sites," the group said in its full-year results on Wednesday. It said it aims to have "Around 100" stores in prime retail markets, up from 80 now, along with 80 stores in what it terms core markets, up from 65 now. Dealing with its legacy store estate, much of which dates back to before the second world war with many stores poorly located and expensive to maintain, has been one of the biggest challenges facing the group in recent years. Exceptional charges totalling almost £260m - mostly relating to store closures and the thousands of head-office redundancies announced during the year - took the group to a statutory loss of £209m. Clothing and home sales dropped 31 per cent as stores operated under restrictions for much of the year because of the pandemic.

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