Marks & Spencer has become the latest and most high-profile high street name to announce a round of store closures, pilling further woe on the beleaguered retail sector.
M&S is to close 100 stores, amounting to one in three of its core clothing and home branches, over the next four years.
The move, which has been touted as part of a “radical transformation” plan by the retailer after years of falling sales, represents a “dramatic retreat from the UK high street that will trigger thousands of job losses” says The Guardian.
In total, the closures will see the amount of floor space devoted to clothing and homeware slashed by 25%.
“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”.
M&S is expected to announce a second consecutive year of declining profits when it releases its sales figures for the year later today.
This will see it come perilously close to losing its crown as Britain’s largest clothing retailer to Primark.
The success of the low-cost clothing brand is a rare ray of sunshine in an otherwise bleak picture for high street retailers.
A number of household names, including BHS, Maplin, Toys R Us and House Fraser have either gone into administration or been forced to close stores in a bid to boost profits and battle the rise of online shopping.