Extracts - The Guardian 4th November 2017
Falling profits and increasingly tough high street trading fuels expectations of a much bolder restructuring plan from M&S
Marks & Spencer is expected to ramp up its store-closure plan next week as a result of falling profits and tough trading conditions on the high street.
Last year M&S announced it would close 30 stores as part of an overhaul designed to slash by 10% the amount of shopfloor space devoted to its struggling clothing arm. But industry sources suggest M&S’s chief executive, Steve Rowe, has been working on a bolder restructuring plan with the new chairman, Archie Norman, before its first-half trading update on Wednesday.
Rowe, who took over the top job last year, is seeking to revive the fortunes of the 133-year-old retailer whose profits have gone backwards in recent years. Analysts expect pretax profits to have fallen by more than 10% to £201m in the six months to the end of September and have been calling for the retailer to undertake a more drastic closure programme as clothing sales shift online. The retailer made a full-year profit of more than £1bn in 2008.
Last November, when Rowe set out a five-year turnaround plan for the business, he said 30 of M&S’s more than 300 “full-line” stores – which sell clothing, homewares and food – would close down. A further 45 would be downsized or converted into food-only stores. Analysts suggested some of these targets could now be revised.
If M&S does decide to close more stores it will deal a blow to the towns involved, where the retailer is often the main destination store, especially following the demise of BHS. But with more purchases made online, stores in smaller or less attractive town centres and shopping centres are finding life difficult especially amid rising costs for retailers.
Let's hope Hereford is not on any lists
Edited by megilleland, 04 November 2017 .