Marks & Spencer to redevelop Marble Arch store
Marks & Spencer has unveiled a proposal for a major redevelopment of its Oxford Street store that could see the upper levels of the store converted into offices.
The retailer has revealed it is engaging with the local community over the proposal, which forms part of its "Never The Same Again" strategy.
M&S says the store has remained an important hub for the community during the pandemic and that it wants to work with local stakeholders to "develop a modernised store which continues to offer customers a broad range of trusted value products across both Food and Clothing & Home."
It is promising a modern retail store which will be "seamlessly integrated with M&S.com" and equipped with the latest in store digital shopping technology for customers and colleagues to choose from.
As part of the Never The Same Again strategy the retailer has said it will be seeking to "unlock the value" of its store estate, some 40% of which, including the Marble Arch store, is freehold or long leasehold.
It is understood the new-look Marble Arch store will have two and a half floors of retail selling space (at the moment is has five), with the rest given over to Prime Grade A office space and potentially a leisure centre and a gym.
The site, which has been home to M&S since 1930, will have an arcade running through its centre with space for up to 4,000 office workers on the upper floors. Staff will be re-deployed in other stores while development is underway.
Sacha Berendji, M&S’s Retail, Property & Operations Director said: “The launch of our proposal to redevelop Marble Arch today is the latest example of how we are shifting gears in creating a store estate fit for the future.
"Under our Never the Same Again programme we are focused on emerging stronger from the pandemic, and today’s proposal not only means we can redevelop and modernise our store so that it better serves the local community on the UK’s destination high street, but by taking an assertive approach to the management of our asset base we can unlock additional value from the site at the same time and further support our transformation.
We are really excited by the proposal and would encourage the local community to share views with us through our public exhibition which kicks off today.”
The move by Marks & Spencer echoes that of John Lewis which has won conditional planning permission to convert up to 45% of its Oxford Street store into offices. The John Lewis store is also on the West side of Oxford Street but closer to Oxford Circus station. it is located close to the large Debenhams flagship which has been closed for good following the liquidation of the department store and the sale of its brand to online group Boohoo. It is not yet known how that site might be repurposed.
Yesterday M&S revealed it had added 46 new markets to M&S.com meaning the number of countries it can now serve online is more than 100.