Marks & Spencer has today confirmed a £480m investment in “bigger better stores” across the UK.
The retailer’s investment will generate over 3,400 new jobs across the country. M&S wants to accelerate what is a five-year store rotation programme and target a delivery within three years by 25/26.
As part of its programme acceleration, M&S has already identified a pipeline of 20 new stores to be opened in the next financial year.
Stuart Machin, chief executive, said: “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.”
The new store pipeline for 2023/24 includes eight full line destination stores in key city locations including a new 97,000 sq ft store in Leeds White Rose and a 70,000 sq ft store in Liverpool ONE both due to open in summer 2023.
Later in the year, other major stores will open, including a 65,000 sq ft store in Birmingham Bullring (autumn 2023) and a 96,000 sq ft store in Manchester’s Trafford Centre.
All these stores will be relocated to former Debenhams sites – part of M&S’ investment to regenerate currently vacant sites.
Each will feature market-style food halls, spacious Clothing, Home and Beauty departments, brand-new M&S cafes, innovations such as Fill Your Own, as well as free car parking.
Alongside full line sites, M&S has planned investment in 12 new food halls across the UK.
These include a 16,000 sq ft store in Stockport opening in summer 2023 and a 12,000 sq ft store in Barnsley opening in autumn 2023.
In addition to its owned store investment, M&S has plans to extend its franchise model to expand its convenience offer.
M&S says the performance of its new and recently renewed stores has exceeded expectations, with sales ahead of plan.
And it explains the store rotation programme is underpinned by a substantial investment in new digital services to offer an omnichannel service to customers.
This includes the roll-out of Digital Click & Collect to 130 stores across the UK, enabling customers to collect their parcel in under 60 seconds, and Scan & Shop which is used by around 33,000 customers each week and lets customers use their phone to scan and bag food items as they shop, directly from the M&S app.
Overall, the investment in M&S’ accelerated store rotation programme aims to create an estate of 180 full line stores and 420 owned food stores by FY 2025/26.
Funding it will require M&S to release development value that exists in some of its older sites across the UK. The business says its store rotation programme plans to modernise stores and “create a retail environment that customers want today.”