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M&S confirms it will stay open during lockdown

Marks and Spencer has confirmed that its clothing and home division will remain open despite the lockdown restrictions.

According to Drapers, M&S CEO Steve Rowe said that he wanted to make it “very clear” that it would follow the government guidelines but its stores would “remain open”.

He said: “We’re classified as a store that is key because of our food business, and the guidelines say that, while standalone clothing and home stores will be temporarily closed, anywhere where there is food may remain open, and so we’ll continue to serve our customers in the right way, in a safe environment.

As of 5 November, all non-essential retail in England will be forced to close until at least December 2 amid spikes in coronavirus cases across the UK.

M&S currently operates 260 UK stores that sell both clothing and food, out of a total of around 950, of which 615 sell only food.

The retailer recently released its trading statement which showed a loss before tax of £87.6m for the 26 weeks to 26 September, compared with £158.8m in the same period the previous year.

The group also saw its profit plummet by 77% to £61.8m, against last year’s results of £269.9m, whilst group revenue fell by 15% to £4.09bn in the same period, down from £4.8bn last year.

Eoin Tonge CFO at M&S said the impact on clothing and home sales during the peak seasons will be “dependent on in-store sales” during the second lockdown.

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