Marks & Spencer confirms plans to close six stores

(c) Sky News 2017: <a href="">Marks & Spencer confirms plans to close six stores</a>

Marks & Spencer (Frankfurt: 534418 - news) has confirmed plans to close six stores in a move that will affect almost 400 employees.

The stores are in Monks Cross (near York), Portsmouth, Slough, Warrington, Wokingham and Worksop.

M&S said it was consulting the 380 affected workers and it is expected they will be able to move to nearby outlets.

Chief (Taiwan OTC: 3345.TWO - news) executive Steve Rowe said: "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."

He added: "Our customers' shopping habits are changing.

"We will open new stores, some will reduce in size, some will move, some will close and others will convert to food-only."

The retailer had already announced it would open 36 new stores over the next six months, creating more than 1,400 jobs.

Of these, 34 will be food-only - including Bishopsgate in London, Huntingdon, Aylesbury, Spinningfields in central Manchester and Strood in Kent.

Of M&S's 959 current stores, 615 are food-only.

The two new locations for M&S with clothing, home and food are Bracknell and Rushden.

The news comes just a few months after M&S reported a better-than-expected 2.3% third-quarter increase in like-for-like sales for its beleaguered clothing and home division, while food climbed by 0.6%.

M&S said in November its five-year plan was to close about 30 UK stores and convert 45 more into food-only shops, while also announcing a retreat from some international markets.

Earlier on Thursday, Debenhams (Frankfurt: D2T.F - news) announced it was considering closing up to 10 of its stores.