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Marks & Spencer unveils plans for 20 new “bigger, better” stores

Tom Shearsmith
16 January 2023

Marks & Spencer plans to ramp up its store overhaul with 20 new shops across the UK in a move that will create more than 3,400 jobs.

Over the next financial year, the business plans 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.

It 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 £480 million, M&S said.

The new Marks & Spencer store plans come under a wider restructure of its retail footprint, with the group last year revealing it would reduce the number of its full-line stores by 67 to 180 by early 2026.

Chief Executive Stuart Machin said stores were a “key part” of the group’s future, alongside online trading.

He 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. Our investment in stores not only delivers a better experience for customers and colleagues, it boosts local communities with new job creation and will help us deliver a more sustainable estate in every sense."

Details of the accelerated store openings show that five of the group’s new full-line stores will be based in former Debenhams sites as part of its pledge to regenerate vacant store outlets.

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 larger new 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.

The announcement comes after M&S recently emerged as one of the winners of the Christmas trading season, with a 8.6% rise in clothing and home comparable store sales in the 13 weeks to 31 December.

The business is also investing in its digital offering, with the rollout of click-and-collect to 130 stores across the UK, enabling customers to collect their parcel in under 60 seconds, and its Scan & Shop service, which lets customers use their phone to scan and bag food items as they shop.

Upcoming store openings include:

New full line store:

  • Purley Way (expected Summer 2023)

New full line stores (relocations):

  • Leeds White Rose (expected Summer 2023)
  • Liverpool (expected Summer 2023)
  • Birmingham Bullring (Autumn 2023)
  • Lakeside Thurrock (Winter 2023)
  • Trafford Centre (Winter 2023)

New foodhalls:

  • Stockport (expected Summer 2023)
  • Barnsley (expected Autumn 2023)
  • Largs (expected Winter 2023)

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