Britain's M&S to invest $587 mln in new stores

STORY: Marks & Spencer plans to spend $587 million opening new stores going into next year.

The British retailer said Monday (January 16) the investment would generate more than 3,400 new jobs across the UK.

Its move shows the importance of physical stores despite the rise of online shopping.

M&S and rivals like Next noted a post-health crisis swing from online shopping back to physical shopping during the Christmas period.

Data from e-commerce trade body IMRG last week showed online sales fell last year in Britain for the first time ever.

They were down 10.5% on the year.

M&S set out plans in October to speed up its so-called store rotation program.

Its wants to lower the number of full-line stores by 67, and leave 180 higher quality shops that sell its full clothing, home and food offering.

M&S said it plans to build eight new full-line stores for 2023-24.

Last week, the group reported better-than-expected Christmas trading.

Shares in M&S gained over 1% in morning trade.

The stock is up by around a quarter over the last month, but still down 34% over the last year.