More M&S closures as chairman hails “the biggest turnaround in UK retail”

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Marks & Spencer closed another seven stores over the weekend as it pushes on with its ambitious turnaround scheme.

The retailer closed stores in Falkirk, Kettering, Newmarket, Northampton, Stockton, Walsall and New Mersey over the weekend, alongside a Simply Food in Bayswater, central London.

The closures come a few weeks after chairman Archie Norman said the size of the company’s store portfolio had become “a drag on our performance”.

The store closures are part of plans to close 100 M&S stores by 2022 as the bellwether retailer looks to reduce its costs by £350 million by 2021.

Darlington, Fleetwood and Newton Abbott have already ceased trading, and Clacton, East Kilbride and Holloway Road in London are also expected to shut.

Norman is now looking to the long-term redevelopment of M&S.

“For me, the results in the next two years aren’t the most important thing. We are here to deliver a profitable, growing business in five years’ time,” he said.

“This is probably the biggest turnaround in UK retail.”

Norman added that he will be presenting the “unvarnished truth” for M&S’s prospects, as the retailer faces battles on multiple fronts, including against online retailers and discount supermarkets.

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