Marks & Spencer (M&S) is set to inaugurate its largest ever sequence of store openings within a single month. November will witness the launch of nine new M&S stores, representing an £80 million investment in sustainable physical retail, and bolstering over 2,200 local jobs across the UK.
The initiative commences with a significant 65,000 square foot store at Birmingham’s Bullring on the 7th of November. M&S will maintain a steady pace, unveiling at least one store every week throughout the month. This includes two additional new store openings, three new M&S Foodhalls, and three store renewals.
This strategic expansion is integral to M&S’s objective to reign as the UK’s premier omnichannel retailer. Central to this goal is the store rotation programme, which is designed to optimize store location, size, and quality. M&S plans to transition from 247 stores to 180 superior full line stores, offering Clothing, Home, and Food ranges by FY27/28, alongside the introduction of over 100 expansive, enhanced food sites.
Earlier this year, M&S committed approximately £500 million to this store rotation programme, with aspirations to expedite its execution from five to three years by FY25/26. Encouraged by the robust performance and strong capital returns of recently relocated stores, M&S is confident in accelerating its plans.
The investment has already borne fruit with new stores in Leeds White Rose and Liverpool ONE, both exceeding performance expectations. These relocations also contribute to environmental sustainability. For instance, the Liverpool ONE store has transitioned to LED lighting and a natural refrigeration system, achieving a 55% increase in efficiency and a 69% reduction in carbon emissions.
The announcement of M&S’s largest store opening month is a continuation of the retailer’s investment and acceleration of its plans. The new full line stores in Birmingham Bullring, Lakeside Thurrock, and Manchester Trafford Centre are all relocations aimed at revitalizing vacant sites. The store renewals bring M&S closer to having over 100 stores in the renewal format, designed to cater to local families with features like wider aisles and a comprehensive M&S Food range.
Sacha Berendji, Operations Director at M&S, emphasizes the pivotal role of stores, “Stores are key to our business, and we see them as part of our competitive advantage. Increasing numbers of customers are heading back into stores to experience the best of M&S all under one roof, supported by outstanding service from our colleagues, and we expect this to continue as we head into Christmas. To deliver our biggest ever store opening month which supports thousands of jobs is an outstanding effort from the team and shows just how serious we are about accelerating our rotation plans so we are in the right locations for our customers.”
In tandem with store openings, M&S is also recruiting over 10,000 new Customer Assistants for the festive period, a 40% increase from the previous year, underscoring the retailer’s commitment to customer service.
Below is a detailed list of the upcoming store openings and renewals, including the total jobs supported by each:
New Store Openings:
- Birmingham Bullring: Opening on 7th Nov, supporting 233 jobs.
- Lakeside: Opening on 15th Nov, supporting 419 jobs.
- Trafford Centre: Opening on 30th Nov, supporting 306 jobs.
- Uckfield: Opening on 8th Nov, supporting 85 jobs.
- Earlsfield: Opening on 16th Nov, supporting 65 jobs.
- Barnsley: Opening on 28th Nov, supporting 94 jobs.
- Camberley: Launching on 20th Nov, supporting 411 jobs.
- Handforth: Launching on 23rd Nov, supporting 408 jobs.
- Newcastle (Foodhall only): Launching on 29th Nov, supporting 278 jobs.