High street giant, Marks & Spencer, today announced it is halving its head office workforce when it relocates its London head office from Baker Street to new offices at Paddington Basin in mid-2003.

And it has also revealed that its new head office will be less than half the size of the current one. The new head office is expected to be home to just 1,600 M&S employees.

Around 3,000 people currently work at head office. M&S recently announced it would be cutting 350 head office jobs, fuelling fears that more head office cuts could be on the way.

Paddington Development Corporation, which is 50 per cent owned and managed by Chelsfield plc, has signed a pre-letting agreement for the creation of a new head office for M&S.

M&S moved into its current 480,000 sq ft Baker Street head office in 1957. The new office is just 240,000 sq ft, but 13,000 sq ft of this will be dedicated to a new M&S store selling footwear and clothing.

The new head office, currently being built, has been designed by renowned architect Lord Rogers of Riverside and is a three minute walk from Paddington Station.

M&S's chairman and chief executive, Luc Vandevelde, said: "I am delighted to announce the relocation of our head office to Paddington Basin. A flexible and inspiring workspace tailored specifically for our requirements is exactly what we need to encourage the creativity and innovation of our people.

"This move to a more efficient, modern environment takes us into the next phase of building a better Marks & Spencer business. It also gives us the opportunity to release the financial asset we have in Michael House."

M&S announced a massive restructure in March which involves closing its European stores. It announced 4,390 jobs are to go, including the 350 at head office.