Marks and Spencer propose to close two stores in our region

Shoppers at Marks & Spencer

Shoppers at Marks & Spencer

The retailer wants to move a third of its sales online and have bigger stores but fewer of them.

Since M&S first announced its closure programme in November 2016, 18 stores have shut and three have been relocated.

Lisa Rogers, head of region for Lancashire and Cumbria at Marks & Spencer (M&S), said, "The decision to close M&S Fleetwood outlet was a hard one to make".

The popular Marks & Spencer chain - better known as M&S - announced on Tuesday it wants to close 100 United Kingdom locations, or about 10% of its stores, as it encourages customers to shop online.

They are reducing their focus on clothing and home, in a major blow to United Kingdom high streets. It had meant to open 40 stores this financial year, but has cut that number to 25.

Marks & Spencer retail, operations and property director Sacha Berendji described the closures as not easy, but "vital for the future of M&S".

He said that where stores have already closed, "encouraging" numbers of consumers were now shopping at nearby stores.

Speaking to Extra.ie, a Marks & Spencer spokeswoman said no Irish stores were being closed and refused to speculate on potential future closures.

The Marks & Spencer Food Hall in Whitstable
The Marks & Spencer Food Hall in Whitstable

Last year, M&S said United Kingdom and worldwide closures and impairments resulted in £190m of charges, which were partly responsible for the retailer's decline in annual profits.

A branch in Bayswater, west London, as well as outlets in Fleetwood, Lancashire and Newton Abbot, Devon are set to shut by the end of July this year. Darlington, East Kilbride, Falkirk, Kettering, Newmarket, New Mersey Speke, Northampton, Stockton and Walsall are proposed for closure and will now enter a period of consultation with all 626 affected employees.

Both of these stores offer Click & Collect for customers who purchase online at M&S.com.

Meanwhile New Look fashion chain said it was closing 60 of its stores in a bid to say afloat after a drop in sales revenue. This comes despite M&S Simply Food being one of the public's most respected convenience fascias.

M&S has been losing share for more than two decades after achieving its peak clothing market share of 13.5% in the United Kingdom in 1997.

"But in order to make its space more productive M&S has to produce a compelling offer showcased in an inspiring environment".

"Closing stores will make its space more productive and help to improve profitability, but it still has not solved its fundamental problem: top-line growth".

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