By Scott Kanowsky
Investing.com — U.K. retail chain Marks and Spencer (LON:MKS) said on Monday that it will invest just under half a billion pounds and open a raft of new stores as part of a broader push to overhaul its locations following strong holiday season trading.
In a statement, M&S said the £480 million (£1 = $1.2219) investment will see it create 3,400 new jobs across Britain.
The company also outlined plans to open 20 new locations in its 2023-2024 financial year, including sites in cities like Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, and Birmingham. M&S announced in October that it would close down 67 of its current “lower productivity” sites, which would lower its estate to 180 stores offering its full line of clothing, home, and food products. The group would also open 100 food-only locations.
“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,” M&S chief executive Stuart Machin said.
The move comes after M&S’ share of the clothing and homewares market in the U.K. touched its highest point in seven years thanks to solid demand for formalwear and party outfits over the Christmas period from shoppers eager to celebrate the holidays following two years of COVID-19 disruptions. This was in sharp contrast to past results for M&S’ clothing and homewares unit, which had previously seen sales decline every year from 2011 to 2020.
London-listed shares in M&S were higher by more than 1% in late-morning trading, but remain lower by nearly 35% over the past one-year period.