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Marks & Spencer to open 20 large shops creating 3,400 jobs

Marks & Spencer Maidenhead, Berkshire, UK. 12th January, 2023. High Street retailer Marks & Spencer have reported strong sales over the Christmas period including sales of turkeys despite general supply chain issues following outbreaks of avain flu. Credit: Maureen McLean/Alamy Live News
The 20 new store openings come as part of a restructuring of Marks & Spencer. Photo: PA/Alamy Live News

Marks & Spencer (MKS.L) has announced plans to open 20 new shops across the UK in a move that will create 3,400 jobs.

The retailer is set to open eight full-line stores in shopping centres such as the Bullring in Birmingham and the Trafford Centre in Manchester, as well in as retail parks and high streets across key cities.

Some of the new stores will be the sites of former Debenhams department stores.

M&S will also will open 12 new food halls, including in Stockport, Barnsley and the seaside town of Largs in North Ayrshire, Scotland.

The new openings will bring investment in new stores to £480m ($584.9m), M&S said.

Read more: Marks & Spencer to close one in four bigger stores amid rising costs

Chief executive Stuart Machin said: “Stores are a core part of M&S’s omni-channel future and serve as a competitive advantage for how customers want to shop today.

“Our store rotation programme is about making sure we have the right stores, in the right place, with the right space and we’re aiming to rotate from the 247 stores we have today to 180 higher-quality, higher-productivity full-line stores that sell our full clothing, home and food offer whilst also opening over 100 bigger, better food sites.

“The out-performance of our recently relocated and renewed stores give us the confidence to go faster in our plan.”

The new store plans come under a wider restructure, with the group last year revealing it would reduce the number of its stores by 67 to 180 over the next five years.

M&S has revealed the list of stores it has confirmed to be opening this year, with the remaining locations to come over the next year.

Watch: Tesco and M&S lift outlook after strong Christmas

Confirmed M&S stores opening this year:

  • Purley Way (expected Summer 2023)

  • Leeds White Rose (expected Summer 2023)

  • Liverpool (expected Summer 2023)

  • Birmingham Bullring (Autumn 2023)

  • Lakeside Thurrock (Winter 2023)

  • Trafford Centre (Winter 2023)

Confirmed new M&S food halls:

  • Stockport (expected Summer 2023)

  • Barnsley (expected Autumn 2023)

  • Largs (expected Winter 2023)

The group is committing to retail space at a time when many rivals are retrenching from the high street and switching to online only.

But M&S wants to open “bigger, better stores”.

It said each of the new larger stores had been designed “with local families in mind”, with wider aisles and more spacious clothing and home departments, allowing shoppers to browse.

They will also have new M&S cafes, as well as sustainable initiatives such as Fill Your Own, and offer free car parking.

Read more: Marks & Spencer to close 32 stores as it warns on cost of living squeeze

The new market-style food halls will stock the full M&S food range, the retailer added.

The announcement comes after M&S recently emerged as one of the winners of the Christmas trading season, with a 6.3% rise in like-for-like sales across its food halls in the 13 weeks to 31 December, while it saw clothing and home comparable store sales rise 8.6%.

The company said recent sales across stores already revamped as part of its overhaul had traded better than expected, with clothing and home sales 26% ahead of plans in its new Colchester store.

But M&S is also investing in its digital offering, with the rollout of click-and-collect to 130 stores across the UK.