Marks and Spencer has reportedly warned landlords that it will shutter loss-making stores, in a move that may see the department store close more sites than the previously announced.
According to the Sunday Times, the warning came at a dinner hosted by M&S chairman Archie Norman and chief executive Steve Rowe last month. As a result landlords reportedly came away from the dinner expecting closures to exceed that of 110.
Norman is believed to have plans to reduce M&S’s current real estate and increase the proportion of clothing sales made online to one-third.
However, despite reports a spokesperson for M&S confirmed to Retail Sector its plans for its store estate “remain unchanged.”
This is not the first time the idea of further closures has been mooted, with Rowe previously admitting to shareholders at its AGM that plans to close 110 of its stores are “not finite” and said the retailer is paying for “not shutting stores 10 or 20 years ago”.
Marks and Spencer currently has plans to axe 85 full-line stores and 25 of its Simply Food outlets as it targets a return to profitable growth.
It also comes just a week after it announced plans to shutter two of its distribution centres in spring 2021, putting nearly 700 jobs at risk. The closures affect the Thorncliffe and Long Eaton distribution centres, which are operated by XPO and DHL respectively, and each employed around 330 staff.