M&S clothing to “remain fully open” during second lockdown

M&S food chief urges government to help farming and food industry
M&S food chief urges government to help farming and food industry
// M&S clothing and home division to remain open throughout lockdown
// From Thursday, non-essential retail in England will have to close until December 2
// The retailer has called on the government to extend trading hours

Marks & Spencer has confirmed that its clothing and home division will remain open despite the second Covid-19 lockdown taking place in England on November 5.

Despite reporting a half-year loss, M&S chief executive Steve Rowe is optimistic about peak trade.

From Thursday, non-essential retail in England will have to close until at least December 2, in an effort to fight against the spread of Covid-19.


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“We are very clear that we will follow the government guidelines as laid out, but our stores will remain open,” Rowe said.

“We’re classified as a store that is key because of our food business, and the guidelines say that, while standalone clothing and home stores will be temporarily closed, anywhere where there is food may remain open, and so we’ll continue to serve our customers in the right way, in a safe environment.

“Our stores will remain fully open. The guidance is very clear that those stores that are within essential stores may remain open.”

M&S has 260 UK stores that sell both clothing and food, out of a total of around 950, of which 615 sell only food.

Rowe said he expects a successful peak trade, despite the retailer swinging to a loss before tax of £87.6 million for the 26 weeks to September 26.

“The last six months represent a period like no other for the business,” he said.

“During the first quarter, more than half of our clothing and home business was closed, and we faced extraordinary challenges.

“Despite this, we have delivered a robust performance. While we made a statutory loss during the period, we made an operating profit, which is actually the best way to measure our real performance before ‘one-off’ factors.”

M&S chief financial officer Eoin Tonge said the impact on clothing and home sales during peak will be dependent on in-store sales during the second lockdown.

“The way to think about the next four weeks is obviously our clothing and home store sales will be impacted – the rest of our business should be trading quite well,” he said.

In terms of estimating potential impacts you have to look at our store sales. It’ll obviously depend on how we trade in the store and how well online trades in that period.

“Overall, we’re in a much better position going into this lockdown in a significant number of ways.”

The retailer has also joined the likes of Primark after calling on the government to extend trading hours.

Primark announced on  Tuesday that it plans to ask the government to extend trading hours following England’s four-week lockdown.

Rowe said M&S has already decided to extend operating hours, particularly in the food division.

“In addition to that, we are lobbying quite hard with the rest of the industry for the extension of the regulation of Sunday hours, particularly as we get closer to Christmas,” he said.

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25 COMMENTS

  1. Sounds like a great idea – longer hours up at 4 am home at 10pm, longer Sunday trading too. Brilliant – I am sure the exhausted staff who have worked throughout Covid lockdown 1 & 2 can’t wait to spend even LESS time with thier families running up to Christmas., and MORE time mixing with people who don’t where masks and can’t keep 2 metres away (but are not allowed to remind them of this) Is anyone actually bothered about people working in retail, and how this impacts on health/mental health and wellbeing ?

  2. The queues at supermarkets on Sundays on the last lockdown were crazy due to being only allowed to being open for 6 hours as we get closer to christmas it will only get worse. Yes I understand shop staff are under alot of pressure but opening a few more hours on a Sunday won’t make much difference to them plus many would probably be glad of the extra money or those out of work would appreciate it. Even 8am to 8pm would be fine

    • Yes, I would – you sound Lazy and Naive. Nobody is FORCING you to work any more hours than you do already, you’re just grumbling and sound incredibly negative. The kind of person who in another kind of non-essential job elsewhere would probably be right at the top of their Managers redundancy list. If you work in Retail you are expected to work these hours – if you don’t like it – get a job elsewhere.

  3. If you worked in retail you would know we don’t get a choice. If the store opens longer we have to work. “You’re lucky to have a job” we are told. So thanks a lot everyone who wants us to work longer on the only day some of us get to see our love ones.

  4. I’ve worked every shift nhs. My daughter has not missed a day retail. I certainly don’t want shops open longer on Sundays, and to call somebody names because they don’t is quite simply rude. No need for it. You are allowed to have different opinions and shouldn’t be berated for it.

  5. Good for marks and spencer, there are plenty of other stores businesses that should do the same and defy this ridiculous nonsense, if we had all ceased trading in the second world war ,where would be today
    Stop our society turning into a bunch of bloody soft airbrushed pathetic and moaning idiots
    Let’s show some grit and determination, let’s say sod this and get up stand up and stop being dictated too

  6. Get a life in work for boots just be grateful your alive and not dead No way to longer hours we work hard enough with very little staff This week.has been horrendous rude people who don’t care about the virus all they care about is presents for god sake we. have 8 weeks and there is on Line just please take time to think of us behind the counters with out us you won’t be able to shop stay safe smile and wear your mask s

  7. People that do not work in retail have absolutely no idea if the stress the staff are under, not only from ignorant and rude customers but bullying managers as well. I have just recently managed to escape over 20 years in retail, many of them very happy years until this year. I was one of the lucky ones, I will be able to have a decent Christmas with my family and not think about working Boxing day to serve greedy, rude customers, many of them that dont even celebrate Christmas. Happy times ahead for me, so not for the people that had to stay behind.

  8. Surely they will hire temporary ‘seasonal’ staff like they have done in previous years? There will be plenty of takers for such a role this year especially!

  9. Absolutely disgusting what about the cloths shops that have had to close and keep in line with the rules. Has for longer hours just working your staff to death.

  10. I worked in retail,working every boxing day,because the management couldn’t wait to begin the sale a day later. It didn’t make any difference to profits,people still can’t spend more money than they have. Thank goodness l’m now retired.

  11. Disgraceful they are open when others can’t. This is about health not profit, shame on you M&S for trying to get round things and take advantage of loopholes

  12. People have a choice, not to buy anything apart from food from M&S while other small businesses risk to go under due to bias rules. It is insane what the government comes up with and people just accept it.

  13. I find it shocking that the clothing section remains open
    In my local branch you have to go upstairs ti access this department
    All other clothing stores in the precinct are closed , shame on you Marks and Spencer

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