M&S to Close More Than 100 Stores Amid Online Push
23 May, 2018, 17:13 | Author: Cecelia Webb
In a statement the British retailer said that prices will be slashed by an average of 24% with no compromise on the trusted, M&S quality and sourcing standards customers know and love.
The changes to the business follow the continued shift of clothing and home sales to online, development of global competition, growth of home delivery in food and continued rise of the discounters.
The restructuring was accelerated last a year ago.
When all is said and done, the Marks & Spencer closures will affect more than 1,500.
"This latest wave of closures will feel like a body blow to locations that are already under pressure" says the BBC's Emma Simpson, "but the hard truth is that M&S has more stores than it needs, given our changing shopping habits" and many experts believe that closing a large swathe of stores "is a tough but necessary step".
Marks & Spencer said it urgently had to modernise or risk fading away as it reported a second straight decline in annual profit and booked a £321 million charge for a store closure programme.
"Until recently the food business was the bright spark which kept hopes for growth from M&S alive, but now that seems to have dimmed too", said Laith Khalaf, senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.
The radical change in how consumers buy their clothes today is why M&S is hanging by its fingernails onto the top spot as the UK's largest clothing retailer, where it now commands just over 8% of the market, and others have to make themselves distinctive in either inventory, price, or both, to stay ahead.
"The new organisation will largely be in place by July and the team is now tackling transforming our culture to make M&S a faster, lower cost, more commercial, more digital business".
"The first phase of our transformation is about restoring the basics, getting the architecture and infrastructure of the business fit for the future", stated the company.
M&S left its dividend unchanged at 18.7p.
"These changes come with short term costs which are reflected in today's results".
"Our fulfilment centre at Castle Donington has struggled to cope with peak demand and some of our systems are dated", it said.
The company is looking to improve its website, as well as investing to increase and improve e-commerce capacity, to support its ambition of doubling the online share of its Clothing & Home sales to over 33%.
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