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More high street gloom as M&S announce closures

PUBLISHED: 12:17 15 January 2019 | UPDATED: 09:02 16 January 2019

What has gone wrong with our beloved store? Marks & Spencer in Norwich. Pic: www.edp24.co.uk

What has gone wrong with our beloved store? Marks & Spencer in Norwich. Pic: www.edp24.co.uk

High street giant Marks & Spencer is planning to close stores with the potential loss of more than 1,000 jobs.

The retailer – which has stores across Norfolk including a flagship premises in Norwich – announced it is to speed up plans to restructure the business amid continuing peril for traditional stores.

No closures are planned in our region although the store in Felixstowe, Suffolk, will close.

MORE: Jamie Oliver insists chain “will come back” despite string of closures

Calum Telford, M&S head of region for East Anglia, said: “Proposing to close M&S Felixstowe is a very difficult decision. At this time our colleagues are our first priority and we’ll be talking to each individually about what this means for them and making sure they’re fully supported.

“We remain committed to serving local customers and, if the proposal goes ahead, they will be able to continue to shop for M&S Clothing & Home products from our Ipswich store and on M&S.com.”

Like many bricks and mortar traders, M&S had a disappointing Christmas period. Like-for-like clothing and home sales dropped 2.4% during the 13 weeks to December 29, while comparable food sales fell 2.1%.

M&S faces greater competition from online retailers such as Boo Hoo, the owner of Nasty Gal and Pretty Little Thing, which saw revenue rise 44% to £328.2m in the four months to December 31.

In November 2016 M&S announced a five-year UK store estate programme to improve the quality of its clothing and home space for customers.

Since then a number of announcements have been made. This has included closing 30 stores, three of which were relocations.

In May 2018 M&S announced that it will continue to accelerate its space plan, after seeing better than expected numbers of customers moving to shop at other nearby M&S locations and its target to have one-third of sales online by 2022.

Today M&S has announced 16 stores nationwide that are proposed to close and one store that we will close and relocate to a Foodhall.

The 17 stores set to close are: Ashford, Barrow, Bedford, Boston, Buxton, Cwmbran, Deal, Felixstowe, Huddersfield, Hull, Junction One Antrim Outlet, Luton Arndale, Newark, Northwich, Rotherham, Sutton Coldfield and Weston Super Mare.

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