Saturday 4 May 2019 10:08 am

Marks and Spencer will shut seven stores for the final time as part of a wider restructuring

Sport and Business Reporter at City AM. Email:

Sport and Business Reporter at City AM. Email:

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Marks and Spencer will shut down seven more stores today as part of its long-term plan to close 100 by 2022. 

It will bring the total number of stores closed to 47 as the high street retailer adapts to consumer's changing habits.

The department store chain is ending its association with town centres across the UK and today's closures will see stores in Rotherham, Luton, Huddersfield, Bedford, Cwmbran, Ashford and Hull shut their doors for the final time. 

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It comes just a week after Boston, Deal, Felixstowe, Buxton, Newark and Weston-Super-Mare all lost a store.

The company has been eager to point out that it is not shrinking, now with more than 1,000 stores compared with just 668 ten years ago. 

However, its main focus is now on food, where sales figures have been a lot stronger than its traditional clothing section.

According to data from GlobalData, M&S had a 10 per cent share of the UK clothing market in 2009, but 10 years later and that has shrunk to just seven per cent. 

While that is still bigger than other fashion retailers, other companies have not lost so much ground. Next for example, has the second biggest market share and has lost less than one per cent of it over the same period.

Further still, Primark has gained two per cent, rising to just under seven per cent of the total share, while TK Maxx, Tesco and JD Sports have all increased their share too. 

Sacha Berendji, M&S's retail, operations and property director, said that the company were keen to focus on locations that were spacious, easily accessible and had other things to do in the area, while he also said they were keeping on as many staff as possible.

"Customers are looking for a whole experience," he said.

"A chunk of our stores we have been in for a very, very long time and they are not in the right shape and they are not the right size and it's difficult to manoeuvre around the building."

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He added: "This isn't an exercise in reducing colleague numbers."

So far around 70 per cent of staff members from closed stores have been relocated to new shops. 

M&S will later this month reveal its latest financial figures.