Struggling British retailer Marks and Spencer is splashing out €33 million on an Irish expansion programme.

M&S, which has been operating on the Irish market for 40 years, is opening two new stores in Newbridge, County Kildare, and Newtownabbey, North East Belfast.

The company is also to redevelop an existing store in Sprucefield, near Lisburn, one of its 23 locations in Ireland.

M&S has already opened ten new stores on the Irish market since 2003, opening up 1,500 jobs there.

The company - which has been fighting to win back customers favour in recent years - recently suffered the resignation of George Davies, consultant for the popular Per Una unit, just hours after the group finally reported an upturn in trading.

Per Una's head of merchandise and finance director also announced they were quitting their roles.