Marks & Spencer is to open 36 new stores over the next six months as it reshapes its estate and builds its food business.
The openings comprise 34 new food stores and two clothing, home and food stores.
These include Foodhalls in Bishopsgate, London, Huntingdon, Aylesbury, Spinningfields, Manchester and Strood and new M&S clothing, home and food stores opening in Bracknell and Rushden in July.
Over 1,400 new customer assistant and management jobs will be created by the new shops.
However, the retailer has proposed closing six shops and is consulting with colleagues and their representatives in the stores in Monks Cross, Portsmouth, Slough, Warrington, Wokingham and Worksop.
If the proposals go ahead, all 380 staff in the affected stores would be guaranteed redeployment at a nearby store.
Five-year store plan
The plan is part of M&S’s five-year UK store programme that it unveiled in November after a full review of its UK estate.
M&S’s plan to grow its food business but to sell clothing and home goods from fewer, “more inspirational” locations that offer better ranging and availability.
The strategy includes opening 200 new food-only stores and selling clothing and home lines from 60 fewer locations.
Marks & Spencer chief executive Steve Rowe said: “M&S stores will always be an integral part of our customer offer, working seamlessly alongside our website, M&S.com, to deliver great products and service to our customers.
“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.
“Each proposal we make will be very carefully considered with our colleagues and customers firmly front of mind. It is our intention that nobody leaves M&S and we will work as hard as possible to ensure that we can deliver against this promise.”
M&S currently has 959 UK stores – 304 full-line stores, 615 food-only stores and 40 outlets.