November Set To Be Biggest Store Opening Month For Marks & Spencer
This November is set to be M&S’ biggest ever store opening month. Across the month M&S will open nine new stores, investing £80m in sustainable bricks and mortar retail and supporting over 2,200 local jobs across the UK.
Kicking off with a major new 65,000 square foot store in Birmingham’s Bullring on Tuesday 7th November, M&S will open at least one store every seven days throughout the month. This also includes two further new store openings, alongside three new M&S Foodhalls and a further three store renewals.
The openings are part of M&S’ aim to become the UK’s leading omnichannel retailer, with its store rotation programme at the centre of this ambition. The store rotation programme ensures M&S has the right stores, in the right place, with the right space. The retailer is aiming to rotate from a base of 247 stores to 180 higher quality, higher productivity full line stores that sell its Clothing, Home and Food ranges, while also opening over 100 bigger, better food sites, by FY27/28.
At the start of the year M&S set out a c.£500m investment in its store rotation programme and outlined its ambition to go faster in the programme and target delivery in three years instead of five by FY25/26. In the last year M&S has seen strong performances from its recently relocated stores with strong payback on invested capital giving the retailer the confidence to go faster.
As part of this headline investment M&S has already relocated to new stores in Leeds White Rose and Liverpool ONE in the summer with both performing ahead of expectations. The relocations also deliver significant environmental benefits. The new Liverpool ONE store for example is a more efficient and modern building which uses LED lighting and a natural refrigeration system which is 55% more efficient than the old store and delivers a 69% reduction in carbon emissions.
M&S has also opened a number of new Foodhalls this year as part of its aim to deliver 100 new bigger, better food stores, including Purley Way, Stockport and Clacton. Today’s announcement outlining M&S’ biggest ever store opening month is the next stage of the retailer’s investment and acceleration of its plans.
The three new full line stores in Birmingham Bullring, Lakeside Thurrock and Manchester Trafford Centre are all store relocations – part of M&S’ investment to regenerate vacant sites. The three store renewals also mean M&S is nearing over 100 stores in the renewal format. Each store aims to appeal to local families, with customers able to browse in wider, brighter aisles and a clear line of sight across the store. With fresh market-style food halls stocking the full M&S Food range, spacious Clothing, Home and Beauty departments, as well as free car parking to make shopping more convenient for customers. Lakeside and Trafford Centre will also have brand-new M&S cafes.
Sacha Berendji, Operations Director: “Stores are key to our business, and we see them as part of our competitive advantage. Increasing numbers of customers are heading back in to stores to experience the best of M&S all under one roof, supported by outstanding service from our colleagues, and we expect this to continue as we head into Christmas."
"To deliver our biggest ever store opening month which supports thousands of jobs is an outstanding effort from the team and shows just how serious we are about accelerating our rotation plans so we are in the right locations for our customers.”
Alongside store openings, M&S recently announced it is hiring over 10,000 new Customer Assistants to support in its stores over the festive period. The vacancies represent a 40 per cent increase on last year and reflects the additional investment M&S is making in colleague hours to support customers on the shop floor so that the retailer is well set up to support customers as it heads into the festive season.