M&S set to announce store closures in turnaround plan

Marks and Spencer Image copyright Getty Images

Marks and Spencer is expected to announce the closure of a number of UK stores next week as part of plans to turn around the business.

M&S chief executive Steve Rowe is also expected to announce a shake-up of its international operations.

Mr Rowe will provide an update on the retailer's latest trading performance on Tuesday.

Smaller M&S branches in weaker High Streets are forecast to bear the brunt of the cuts.

According to Sky News, the closures would number in the "low dozens" while other shops will reallocate space away from clothing to its more successful food operations.

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

Mr Rowe, who took over the top job in April, said that improving clothing and homeware sales was his number one priority.

He outlined the first part of his strategy in May, including price cuts and promotions to help win shoppers back that were expected to dent profits in the short term.

In July, the group posted its worst quarterly sales figures for a decade.

His focus will now turn to the size of the retailer's UK store portfolio, and the international division where profits slumped last year.

Like many other retailers, M&S is grappling with changing shopping habits as increasing numbers of purchases are made online.

It is already trying to simplify its business by cutting hundreds of jobs at its head office in London.

A spokesman for M&S declined to comment.

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