Marks and Spencer (M&S) is to plough nearly £0.5bn into an accelerated UK-wide investment drive which will result in 20 new larger and improved stores across the UK in the next financial year.
The retailer also aims to create over 3,400 new jobs whilst providing shoppers with a “seamless” customer experience.
M&S said it was accelerating its five-year store rotation scheme, which it aimed to complete within three years.
“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 has revealed plans to open eight large stores in major city sites, including a 97,000 sq ft store in Leeds White Rose shopping centre and a 70,000 sq ft store in Liverpool ONE by this summer.
The company also intends to open 12 new food halls for UK communities.
A premium supermarket will expand with a 65,000 sq ft store in Birmingham Bullring in Autumn 2023 as well as a 96,000 sq ft store in Manchester’s Trafford Centre and a 98,000 sq ft store in Lakeside Thurrock.
As part of M&S’ effort to revitalise vacant sites, these new stores will be located in former Debenhams sites.
M&S has seen a faster than expected rise in sales at its new and recently renovated stores.
Clothing and home sales in Colchester store jumped 26 per cent whilst in Llandudno they rose by 35 per cent.
A store in Chesterfield that was relocated to Ravenside Retail Park in November saw sales increase by 103 per cent in December compared to the previous year.
These successful performances have given M&S confidence to move forward with its plan to renovate and update more stores. This plan will also help the company to reduce its lease liability by £309m.
M&S is also working to make its stores more environmentally friendly, with a focus on reaching net zero by 2040.
This includes using more energy-efficient lights and technology, and finding ways to generate energy, for instance through the installation of solar panels on some of its stores.
Customers will also find it easier to charge their electric cars with ‘ultra-fast’ charging stations being established at around 70 stores.
The company is planning to modernise and update many of its stores to better serve customers, with 180 large stores and 420 smaller stores open by 2026.
M&S recently reported strong festive sales in their post-Christmas trading statement.