Marks & Spencer will shut 27 “underperforming” stores and cut 1,230 jobs in response to “challenging economic conditions”. The cost-cutting measures come as M&S, the UK’s biggest clothing retail, reports its worst Christmas trading in a decade.
The retailer announced a 7.1% drop in sales for the 13 weeks to December 27th compared to the same period last year today (January 7). The figures revealed the retailer dropped 8.9% in general merchandise sales during the festive trading period, while food sales slipped by 5.2%.
Most of the store closures, 25, are Simply Food outlets, while two are “small” main chain stores, resulting in 780 job losses. A further 450 jobs are being cut from head office but the retailer is not disclosing details of which departments will be affected by the 15% headcount reduction.
Chairman Sir Stuart Rose says the steps are being taken to rein in operating cost growth by round £200m, against falling profits.
Rose says clothing, and in particular lingerie and kids categories, had performed well in the Christmas period, while online sales were up 29%.