M&S Stockport in Merseyway is amongst another eight stores are set to close as Marks & Spencer tackles the challenges affecting the majority of UK High Streets today.
The shops set to be closed are in Andover, Basildon, Bridlington, Denton, Falmouth, Farnham, Keighley and Stockport.
The retailer previously confirmed six stores will close by the end of April at Birkenhead, Bournemouth, Durham, Fforestfach in Wales, Putney and Redditch, with staff moving to nearby stores.
M&S have confirmed staff will be offered redeployment at other stores before redundancy is considered, affecting hundreds of jobs.
The closure could affect the 100 staff currently employed by M&S in Stockport.
All staff affected will be consulted regarding their future positions.
Helen White of Marketing Stockport said:
“This is sad news for Stockport and comes at a time when an enormous amount of investment and time is being spent to regenerate the town centre. The council are investing £1bn in the regeneration project and Stockport’s Business Improvement District – Totally Stockport – is dedicated to improving the town centre offering for everyone.”
Earlier this month the retailer announced a new Technology Transformation Programme as part of its five-year transformation plan, enabling it to become a digital-first business and deliver an improvement in customer experience. It is designed to create a more agile, faster and commercial Technology function that will work with the business to deliver growth.
Through the transformation plan M&S is hoping to reposition about 25 per cent of its clothing and home space through a combination of closures, downsizes, relocations and conversions to food-only sites.
Sacha Berendji, Director of Retail at Marks & Spencer said,
“We’re committed to transforming M&S for our customers, colleagues and shareholders. Stores will always be an integral part of our customer experience, alongside M&S.com, but we have to ensure we have the right offer in the right locations.
“We don’t want any colleagues to leave M&S and we will work with each colleague individually on what is best for them as we endeavour to give everyone a role. However, we accept in some cases we may have to consider redundancy.
“We believe these changes are vital for the future of M&S and we will continue to accelerate the programme, taking tough but necessary decisions, as we focus on making M&S special.”
This update follows M&S’s announcement in November that it is accelerating its UK store estate plan after the better than expected levels of sales transfer from closures and plans to grow online sales.
Stockport Council is disappointed, but not surprised, to hear the news this morning about Marks & Spencers proposals for its Stockport store and commented:
“The trading problems the retailer has been facing over recent years have been well documented and the investment that has been made into the Stockport store by the retailer has been limited, and in light of this we have been working to prepare for all eventualities.Stockport Council is disappointed, but not surprised, to hear the news this morning about Marks & Spencers proposals for its Stockport store.
“We are now in discussions with the retailer over their future intentions for Stockport, their plans for the site and to ensure that we can offer the affected staff as much support as possible.
“Stockport remains the most popular town centre within South Manchester, attracting over 15 million visitors each year, meaning it is ranked amongst of the top 3% of retail centres within the UK.
“The town’s offer is being be further reinforced by the ongoing £1 billion transformation currently being undertaken by the Council and partners, which will ensure the town centre meets the future changing trends and patterns of not only retailing but other uses too, and we are confident that this news will not impact on the town’s economic viability.
“Redrock Stockport opened in November and is already trading well ahead of forecasts and will bring hundreds of thousands of new visitors to the town centre showing just how vibrant Stockport is. Investment in the town centre by the private sector is at the highest recorded level for years.
“Whilst we wish to keep Marks & Spencer in Stockport town centre, this may offer opportunities as the Council continues to plan for the redevelopment and future of Merseyway Shopping Centre – a redevelopment which will continue the significant renaissance Stockport is experiencing and further reinforce the town’s position.”
Councillor Kate Butler, Cabinet Member for Economy and Regeneration at Stockport Council said:
“Whilst we want to keep Marks & Spencer in Stockport, we are not surprised by the news. Our priority now is to work closely with them to discuss their plans for Stockport, as we very much see Marks & Spencer as part of our vision for the town centre. We will therefore be looking closely at the opportunities our regeneration plans offer them for the future, as well as to support their staff many of whom will be local residents.”
M&S currently has 1,025 stores in the UK: 302 Clothing, Home and Food, 684 Food-only and 39 Outlets.