As part of the store rotation programme, Marks & Spencer (M&S) has identified 20 stores that it describes as ‘bigger’ and ‘better’ that will open in the next financial year with a GBP480m (US$593m) investment.
The retailer believes the investment will generate over 3,400 new jobs across the UK and says it aims to create a future M&S store estate that has a seamless experience for its customers every time they shop.
M&S chief executive officer Stuart Machin states: “Our store rotation programme is about making sure we have the right stores, in the right place, with the right space and we’re aiming to rotate from the 247 stores we have today to 180 higher quality, higher productivity full line stores that sell our full clothing, home and food offer whilst also opening over 100 bigger, better food sites.
“The out performance of our recently relocated and renewed stores, give us the confidence to go faster in our plan. Our investment in stores not only delivers a better experience for customers and colleagues, it boosts local communities with new job creation and will help us deliver a more sustainable estate in every sense.”
The new store pipeline for 2023 to 2024 includes eight full line destination stores in key city locations such as Leeds and Liverpool by this summer.
Later in the year, other major stores are scheduled to open in Birmingham, Manchester and Lakeside Thurrock.
Alongside full line sites, M&S has also planned investment in 12 new food halls in communities across the UK.
The first five new stores within the plan are within former Debenhams sites and the retailer explains that part of its investment will be spent on regenerating these currently vacant sites.
M&S adds that each location has been designed with local families in mind, with shoppers able to browse in what it describes as inspiring settings with wider aisles and a clear line of sight. This will include spacious clothing, home and beauty departments, new M&S cafes and sustainable innovations such as Fill Your Own, as well as free car parking to make shopping more convenient for its customers.
New stores to support omni-channel shopping experience
The store rotation programme is said to be underpinned by the company’s substantial investment in new digital services in order to offer an omnichannel service to customers. This includes the roll-out of digital click & collect to 130 stores across the UK, enabling customers to collect a parcel in under 60 seconds, and scan & shop which is used by around 33,000 customers each week and lets customers use their phone to scan and bag food items as they shop, directly from the M&S app.
The investment from M&S’ accelerated store rotation programme aims to create an estate of 180 full line stores and 420 owned food stores by FY25/26.
M&S points out that funding it will require M&S to release development value that exists in some of its older sites across the UK.
In October last year, Marks & Spencer (M&S) said it will be closing 67 of its ‘lower productivity’ full line stores, stating that it was focussing on rotating to higher quality new space, which will lead to the closing of lower productivity stores and in-turn the opening of more high productivity, high quality food space.