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Published: Fri, February 02, 2018
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Marks & Spencer plans to close up to 14 stores in the UK

Marks & Spencer plans to close up to 14 stores in the UK

On Tuesday, bosses announced a plan to close eight branches nationwide, with a further six to go by the end of April.

They are: Birkenhead, Bournemouth, Durham, Fforestfach in Wales, Putney and Redditch, with all staff moving to nearby stores.

The retailer said there would be a consultation period on any redundancies, and in the event of closure, "all colleagues would be redeployed or offered redeployment at other stores before redundancy is considered".

The proposed closures are part of M&S's programme to "modernise its United Kingdom store estate to better meet the changing needs of customers".

Steve Seymour, manager of the Airedale Centre, said: "Our thoughts are with the staff employed in the shop".

Lisa Armstrong, chair of the proposed Andover Business Improvement District (BID) says, "We hope that with the growing population of our town in the coming years and efforts in place, like the BID to improve Andover's customer experience that M&S might consider alternatives to closing the store".

Mr Musallam, who has worked for M&S for 10 years after starting as a Christmas seasonal worker, said: "The community has been eagerly awaiting the new store". Martin Lane, managing editor of personal finance site money.co.uk, said numerous traditional big retail hitters were struggling against discount rivals and online sales.

"We believe these changes are vital for the future of M&S and we will continue to accelerate the programme", said director of retail Sacha Berendji.

The M&S closures follow store management cuts at Tesco and Sainsbury's, which have put thousands of jobs at risk. Retailers of all kinds also face rising costs from the increase in the legal minimum wage, higher business rates and inflation related to the fall in the value of the pound since the Brexit vote.

M&S has also reassessed and reduced its Simply Food opening programme, and now only plans to open 36 owned and franchise stores over the next six months.

But a spokeperson for Marks and Spencer insisted that is not the case and plans for the new Food Hall are still "on track".

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