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M&S stores remain ‘integral part’ of retailer amid planned closures

Marks & Spencer (M&S) insists stores will “always be an integral part” of its offer as a Warrington branch is earmarked for closure.

The retail giant has proposed the loss of the North West branch as it also prepares to open new shops around the region.

The shop within the town’s Golden Square Shopping Centre, which sells clothing, food and homeware, would shut as part of a five-year shake-up of the chain’s UK store estate and is one of six planned closures across the country.

The closest remaining branches would be the Gemini clothing, home and food store, and the foodhall in Stockton Heath.

Meanwhile an M&S food store in Manchester’s Spinningfields is among 34 planned food-only outlets and two clothing, home and food stores lined up to open over the next six months.

A Crewe home, clothing and food store will also relocate this summer from Market Street to the area’s Grand Junction Retail Park.

M&S is said to currently be consulting with staff and their representatives over the store closures and, if the proposals are given the go-ahead, all 380 employees in the affected branches would be guaranteed redeployment at a nearby shop.

Steve Rowe, chief executive of M&S which currently has 959 UK stores in total, says: “M&S stores will always be an integral part of our customer offer, working seamlessly alongside our website, M&, to deliver great products and service to our customers. However, our customers’ shopping habits are changing. Picking up food for now or tonight rather than doing one big shop or browsing and shopping online and collecting in store are great examples of this and we are committed to adapting our business so that we stay in tune with our customers.

“Each proposal we make will be very carefully considered with our colleagues and customers firmly front of mind. It is our intention that nobody leaves M&S and we will work as hard as possible to ensure that we can deliver against this promise.”

Confirmation of planned M&S closures came as department store chain Debenhams also confirmed it is considering closing 10 branches and several warehouse and distribution facilities as new chief executive Sergio Bucher looks to transform the brand.

The stores being considered for closure have not yet been revealed.