Marks & Spencer is reportedly having second thoughts about its new store projects across the UK and could potentially pull the plug on them, as it ramps up its turnaround efforts.
According to The Mail on Sunday, the retail bellwether may halt its involvement in developments including shopping malls, town centre regeneration projects and residential sites.
M&S is reportedly involved in up to 60 building projects, and withdrawing could land them in hot water as many of the projects are funded by public money and councils with the primary intention of creating jobs.
It comes almost a month after the retailer posted a 5.3 per cent slump in profits in its half-year report.
As part of its previously-announced turnaround strategy, the retailer revealed plans to close down 30 existing and underperforming stores and slow down with food store openings.
Property experts have indicated that should M&S can property developments that are already in progress, they could face legal action from councils.
Rochdale town council chief executive Steve Rumbelow has already hinted they could that path after M&S pulled out of a £100 million project.
However, M&S said talks were “ongoing” about the Rochdale scheme.
It also said no decision on other developments have been made.
“As part of our transformation programme, we are reviewing potential store openings and will only proceed with sites that will deliver the highest returns,” an M&S spokesperson said.
“We will provide an update when the time is right.”