M&S to close 30 stores after £201m loss

M&S marks and spencer trading update
M&S said its balance sheet is “stronger than expected” following the impact of the pandemic
// M&S posts £201m loss after lockdowns affect store sales
// The retailer will reduce the number of its “full line” sites from around 250 to 180
// Some M&S stores will be transformed into “food only”

Marks & Spencer has announced plans to reduce its store estate after it plunged to a £201 million loss thanks to lockdowns and tiered restrictions.

The retailer currently has over 250 “full line” sites selling clothing and home as well as food ranges, and is set to cut this number down to around 180.

Some stores will be transformed into “food only” and others will be moved to new locations.


READ MORE: M&S to buy more food from EU as it faces Brexit disruption


The retailer’s full-year loss for the year to March 27 compares to a profit of £67 million a year before.

M&S said at least 30 stores will close.

The retailer said it has already closed or relocated 59 “full line” stores, 16 food stores and eight outlets, but the effect of the pandemic means “we can move faster”.

It added that there has rarely been a better time to acquire new replacement stores on good terms.

M&S is planning 17 new or expanded “full line” stores over the next two years, including a number of former Debenhams sites, with the pipeline continuing to grow.

M&S said the overall clothing and home result for the year was “heavily impacted” by lockdowns, ongoing social distancing, steep decline in formal and occasionwear, the location of many of our stores in town and shopping centres and the priority to clear stock.

As a result, total revenue declined 31.5 per cent.

Clothing and home sales dropped 31 per cent despite online sales rising 54 per cent.

Clothing and Home recorded an operating loss before adjusting items of £129.4 million as lower sales were only partly offset by reduced operating costs.

Losses “substantially reduced” in the second half as M&S invested in its online channels to accelerate online growth to partly compensate for losses in store.

Meanwhile, food revenues grew by 1.3 per cent without including the contribution of the online delivery partnership with Ocado, which now sells M&S products and delivered a £78 million boost to its business.

M&S said its balance sheet is “stronger than expected” following the impact of the pandemic.

“In a year like no other we have delivered a resilient trading performance, thanks in no small part to the extraordinary efforts of our colleagues,” M&S chief executive Steve Rowe said.

“In addition, by going further and faster in our transformation through the Never the Same Again programme, we moved beyond fixing the basics to forge a reshaped M&S.

“With the right team in place to accelerate change in the trading businesses and build a trajectory for future growth, we now have a clear line of sight on the path to make M&S special again.

“The transformation has moved to the next phase.”

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10 COMMENTS

  1. The store in Canterbury the main line store is a mix of 1960’s, 70’s and 90’s and 2000 extension and add on’s and original 1930’s store on St George’s Street.

    I think they would be better off taking the former main Debenhams site for the home and clothing and have the food in one of the old separate Debenhams buildings so the current store could be redeveloped in to housing and mixed use development.

    It does not surprise me in all honesty. We still have two former M and S stores that shut in April and May 2019 still empty. One was a very profitable store yet they still shut it.

  2. Please let me know which stores are closing.
    Is it anywhere near in this area. Wiltshire. Gloucester. Bristol Swindon. Bath or Oxfordshire.

  3. How can Primark go from billions pound of sales to nothing during a pandemic with no E-commercial platform and not report a loss. yet M&S have an online platform, sells food, has a tie up with ocado and had clothing section open during lockdowns and still report a loss twice now? Ask your self that question if you work for M&S. I give it 12 to 18 month and administrators will be called in. You’ve had two warnings now jump this sinking ship before it’s to late!

  4. M&S still being misunderstood by management and still not listening to the customers it has and the ones that left.

  5. well no business that had stores closed due to lockdown obviously cannot sell
    anything, so M&S should take this into account before closing stores especially
    in towns where they are so prized and are catalysts for bringing shoppers into
    these towns, the majority of people love M&S, so it’s going to be a very sad day
    when they announce closures, for the staff as well as the customers, please
    think rationally M&S before making the decisions and don’t follow John Lewis
    Sheffield who despite help from the council still shut the store before even giving
    it a chance after 17th May…..think about it please

  6. Rumour that Bexhill closing over Hastings which is madness. Shut Hastings which is a small dire store over the newer larger Bexhill store and both are near anyway.

    Close Tunbridge Wells town centre versus the food and homeware store in the retail park.

    They need to close or reallocate the right stores. Deal should have been kept as food when it went from full line store. TW needs either a food and clothing store and Food and Homeware.

    Hastings needs to be food only and Bexhill can do the full line as very near.

    Hastings is a dump as well so why they would want to keep that store over Bexhill I don’t know.

  7. Doesn’t make sense to close M & S at Ravenside. It is newer and in a nicer setting than scruffy Hastings. It may be smaller than most M & S but Ravenside one is always well stocked and the cafeteria is a delight. I practically live in this branch as I live just down the road. I am not a happy bunny right now.

  8. even when my local M&S was open customers were not allowed upstairs and just a very few men’s n kids clothes were brought on to the lower floor.
    It was ridiculous we couldn’t even buy a mans white shirt and trousers for my husband to go to his mothers funeral who tested positive for Covid and passed away while in hospital with no visitors.
    It was heartbreaking and M&S you let us down.

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