M&S confirms plans to close Covent Garden store

M&S Covent Garden

Marks & Spencer has confirmed rumours that it plans to close down its store in Covent Gardens, London.

According to Retail Week, an M&S spokeswoman said: “We‘re in discussions with the landlord about our Covent Garden store. It is our intention to close the store next year.”

The high street chain has reportedly served notice to landlord The Mercers Company that it is exiting the central London location.

Its store on Long Acre is 20,000sq ft and features a food hall, clothing section and a cafe.

Retail Week said M&S was on the lookout for a new Covent Garden site to move the food hall.

It is also understood that its 125 staff members would be redeployed to other M&S stores.

The new follows speculation last month that M&S was planning to pull out of its Covent Gardens site due to soaring business rates costs.

A spokesman at the time told the Evening Standard:  “We‘re changing our UK store estate, opening new Food halls and Simply Food stores and improving our clothing and home stores.”

In April M&S revealed plans for a major overhaul of its estate, which includes opening 200 new food-only stores and selling clothing and homewares in 60 fewer locations.

The retailer also plans to shut six stores in Monks Cross, Portsmouth, Slough, Warrington, Wokingham and Worksop, while opening 36 brand new outlets by the end of 2018.

It is currently in consultation with affected staff at the six stores and plans to redeploy all 380 affected at nearby stores.

It comes after 500 job cuts at M&S head office around this time last year.

The retailer has struggled to maintain its dominance on the high street of the past year, repeatedly being pulled up by its food sector while its clothing arm‘s popularity wanes.

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