Thousands of demonstrators will stage a protest in central London this Thursday against plans by Marks & Spencer to shut down its stores on the Continent, the Daily Telegraph reported.

Up to 5,000 workers from Britain, France, Belgium and Spain are expected to gather near the company's head office in Baker Street before walking to its flagship store at Marble Arch and then along Park Lane to Hyde Park Corner.

The protest will be the second against the beleaguered retail chain in under two months. The first was staged in France, which is bearing the brunt of the closures, when more than 1,000 union members took to the streets of Paris, carrying placards and shouting anti-Marks & Spencer slogans.

The TUC is co-ordinating the action with its Brussels-based counterpart, the ETUC, and believes it is unprecedented in this country. General secretary John Monks said: "Laws elsewhere in Europe mean that employers need to act responsibly, taking into account the needs of their workforce as well as those of their shareholders. The rally is designed to show Marks & Spencer that its recent actions in Europe are completely unacceptable."

Marks & Spencer announced in March that it was pulling out of Europe and America in an attempt to revive its dwindling fortunes.

Luc Vandevelde, the chairman and chief executive, said the chain needed to focus on its British stores, which have been steadily losing customers to the likes of Gap and Next.

More than 3,300 jobs will be lost on the Continent, while 1,040 will be axed in Britiain. Unions are angry at the closures and have attacked Marks & Spencer for the lack of consultation.

Jan Furstenborg, of Union Network International, which is organising the protest, said thousands of jobs should not be cut just to impress institutional shareholders. "We want M&S to back down. We also want them to start a serious dialogue with the unions. It is not too late for M&S to sit down and talk to us," he said.

An M&S spokeswoman said: "The protest won't change anything. We cannot sustain the losses we have made - £100m over three years - and you have to question what the demonstration will achieve. Our focus is the 60,000 workers in the UK."