M&S is expected to reallocate space away from clothing to its food operations

M&S is expected to reallocate space away from clothing to its food operations

Retailer Marks & Spencer is expected to announce the closure of a number of UK stores this week, and reallocate space away from clothing to food at others, as part of ongoing plans to turn around the ailing business.

New chief executive Steve Rowe, who took over the reins in April this year, is also expected to announce a shake-up of the retailer's international operations, according to Sky News reports.

Rowe, who will provide an update on the firm's trading performance tomorrow (8 November), in September revealed plans to cut around 525 head office jobs – around 15% of the total – in an attempt to remove duplication, drive accountability and "strip out unnecessary costs" across the business. M&S employs over 3,500 people across its seven UK head offices.

M&S to cut 525 HQ jobs in efficiency drive

According to the latest reports, the store closures would number in the "low dozens" and focus on smaller M&S branches. Other shops are set to reallocate space away from clothing to its bigger and more successful food operations.

M&S has over 300 full-range sites and nearly 600 Simply Food shops.

Last month media reports also suggested plans to close the company's flagship Paris department store on the Champs-Elysees with be announced in this week's investor update.

Rowe has already said he intends to try to turn around the retailer's key clothing division by lowering prices and improving style, fit and quality.

However, the beleaguered unit saw first-quarter like-for-like sales fall by 8.9% in the three months ended 2 July, while total sales for the division were down 8.3%.