Marks and Spencer is proposing a 17-store closure in a bid to return the business to growth

Marks and Spencer is proposing a 17-store closure in a bid to return the business to growth

Clothing, homewares and food retailer M&S plans to close another 17 stores with the loss of more than 1,000 jobs, as part of a review of its portfolio aimed at returning the group to profitability.

The high street giant has already outlined plans to shutter 100 stores by 2022, and yesterday (16 January) said the latest closures would affect 1045 staff. The group has 1035 UK stores.

The 17 stores due to close are in Ashford, Barrow, Bedford, Boston, Buxton, Cwmbran, Deal, Felixstowe, Huddersfield, Hull, Junction One Antrim Outlet, Luton Arndale, Newark, Northwich, Rotherham, Sutton Coldfield and Weston Super Mare.

The moves come as part of steps to return the business to profitable growth, which it outlined in November. This came as the retailer was already in the early stages of a five-year restructuring programme announceed in May as full year profit fell 74.8% to GBP29.1m.

Last week the retailer posted another quarter of falling sales in its clothing and home division of 4.8% to GBP1.1bn.

Shore Capital analyst Clive Black said the latest move is "difficult but necessary."

"The change programme at M&S is challenging, and predicated upon a poor financial performance for many years. Accordingly, there is no choice but to change and, whilst clearly really difficult for the people at the sharp end of the store closures and head office cuts, the work now underway is necessary and so we welcome the work-stream and the pace that is evident. At the end of the day, this work does need to manifest itself in a stronger financial performance, which we expect to emerge in CY2021."