Marks & Spencer is to create 500 jobs by the end of next year as it opens 50 banks in its stores within two years.

This morning Marks & Spencer confirmed, following Retail Week’s story yesterday, that it is to launch into banking and will offer a current account by autumn of this year.Other services such as mortgages will follow.

M&S Bank, which is being run in partnership with HSBC, will mirror store trading hours and be open seven days a week. The first branch will open next month in the retailer’s Marble Arch flagship store.

Marks & Spencer chief executive Marc Bolland said: “M&S is one of the most trusted brands on the UK high street and we’ve achieved this by continually listening and responding to the needs of our 21 million customers.

“This bank will be built on M&S values; putting the customer at the heart of the proposition and delivering the exceptional service that sets us apart from the competition.”

Head of HSBC in the UK, Joe Garner, said: “This is our most significant innovation in retail banking since we launched First Direct over 22 years ago.”

The launch of M&S Bank will lead to the creation of 500 new jobs -  400 customer-facing roles in branches and 100 roles at the Chester based head office.

Each branch feature private meeting areas, self-service banking points, and a bureau de change. M&S said: “The aim is to create, a relaxed, modern banking environment for customers, with personal touches such as M&S furniture and fresh flowers. “