- M&S is speeding up closures over the next four years to 100 stores in total
- 14 have been suggested today, 21 have already shut and 65 will be earmarked
- Closures affect clothing and home stores, which have under performed for years
- Bosses admit872 staff are affected as they focus more on online and food halls
Marks & Spencer will close 100 stores by 2022 in 'radical transformation plan' which is 'vital for the future' of the High Street icon
M&S has revealed that it will close 100 stores across the UK in the next four years - writes dailymail.co.uk
The closures will mainly affect its larger clothing and home stores, which have under performed for several years, but bosses say the move is 'vital' for its survival.
They will concentrate on expanding its online operation in the hope it will bring ina third of all sales by 2022 and squeeze more cash out of its hugely successful food business.
M&S today named 14 stores earmarked for closure, with 21 already having shut and a further 65 are yet to be earmarked.
In total the high street giant has1,035 stores in the UK, 300 large one containing clothing, home and food, 696 food halls and 39 outlet centres.
Today they said its Bayswater, Fleetwood Outlet and Newton Abbot Outlet will close by the end of July 2018 while Clacton and Holloway Road in London will both close by early 2019.
Darlington, East Kilbride, Falkirk, Kettering, Newmarket, New Mersey Speke, Northampton, Stockton and Walsall are also proposed for closure and will now enter a period of consultation with all 626 affected employees.
The move is part of a five-year turnaround plan spearheaded by chairman Archie Norman and chief executive Steve Rowe.
They have been seeking to save costs through store closures and shutting distribution centres as part of a wide-ranging efficiency drive as the company's financial performance deteriorates.
Sacha Berendji, retail and property director at M&S, said: 'We are making good progress with our plans to reshape our store estate to be more relevant to our customers and support our online growth plans.
'Closing stores isn't easy but it is vital for the future of M&S. Where we have closed stores, we are seeing an encouraging number of customers moving to nearby stores and enjoying shopping with us in a better environment, which is why we're continuing to transform our estate with pace.'
The retail giant says it is 'accelerating' its strategy transformation strategy launched in November last year as it focuses more on food and online sales.
M&S currently teeters on the brink of crashing out of the FTSE 100 and experts are preparing for the 134-year-old retailer to announce another drop in profits this week.
Another disappointing set of results could see it forced out of the blue chip index which it has been part of since its formation in 1984.
David Gill, national officer for shopworkers' union Usdaw, said: 'This salami-slicing approach to reorganising the business is extremely distressing for the staff.'
'Usdaw has thousands of members working for Marks & Spencer and the staff now need, more than ever, the representation and support of an independent trade union.
'We again urge M&S management to abandon their long-held resistance to recognising Usdaw as the union to represent its staff.
'It is simply unfair that they continue to refuse their staff access to Usdaw, having made the decision on their behalf not to engage with a trade union.'
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