M&S set to close 30 UK stores – but more Simply Food shops will open

Retail chain Marks and Spencer has announced that it will close 30 of its UK stores selling clothing and home wear – converting some into Simply Food stores.

M&S Chief Executive Steve Rowe plans to open 200 new Simply Food outlets following disappointing clothing sales.

Rowe said “This is about building a sustainable, more profitable business that’s relevant for our customers in a digital shopping age.”

Marks and Spencer have not announced which stores would close yet, or which would be converted into Simply Food outlets, but it is expected that this will affect around 100 stores.

With over 200 new Simply Food stores opening, more towns will have an M&S.

But might local stores be affected?

The retailer currently has main stores in Middlesbrough, Stockton, Darlington and Teesside Park, with Simply Food shops in Hartlepool and on Skippers Lane in Middlesbrough.

The closure of the main Hartlepool Store at Middleton Grange Shopping Centre was announced in July 2014, and the store closed in May last year, with staff moving to a brand new Simply Food outlet at Hartlepool Marina.

The Redcar store, which became an M&S Outlet store in 2008 closed in September 2014, despite 11,000 signing a petition in an attempt to save the store, which has been trading on the site, on Redcar High Street for 76 years.

It is, however, thought that the main store on Stockton High Street is the most likely to be under threat of closure, or conversion.  The store, which has an entrance from Wellington Square Shopping Centre, currently has very limited opening hours – it’s closed every evening and on Sundays.

Marks and Spencer also has plans to open new Simply Food stores in Guisborough and Darlington.