Marks and Spencer will open 20 new stores this year and create 3,400 jobs as part of a £480mn investment across the UK.
While many retailers are shutting down bricks and mortar shops and moving more operations online, M&S chief executive Stuart Machin said physical stores were an integral part of the company’s future and “serve as a competitive advantage for how customers want to shop today”.
He added: “Our investment in stores not only delivers a better experience for customers and colleagues, it boosts local communities with new job creation.”
M&S will also make “substantial investment in new digital services”. This will include extending click-and-collect services to another 130 stores across the UK.
The retailer will open 12 food halls and eight “full line destination stores” including in Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester and Birmingham’s Bullring shopping centre in 2023. The new stores will occupy sites previously used by Debenhams, which M&S said was part of its investment to regenerate vacant sites.
Last week, M&S’s share of the UK clothing market reached its highest level in almost eight years after a strong Christmas period.
Clothing and home sales grew 8.6 per cent on a like-for-like basis and 8.8 per cent in total during the 13 weeks to December 31, well above the 4.5 per cent forecast by Deutsche Bank analysts.