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Marks & Spencer reportedly pulling out of new store developments

Marks & Spencer is said to be considering pulling out of several dozen building and development projects across the country as part of CEO Steve Rowe’s renewed turnaround plans.

The British department store chain is reportedly set to cancel involvement in development projects in shopping centres, town centres and residential area, as its reviews its current operational costs, according to a report from The Mail on Sunday. Marks & Spencer is said to be involved in up to 60 development projects across the UK and its decision to pull out may negatively impact a number of them. M&S has already pulled out of a 100 million pounds development project in Rochdale, causing concerns the entire project could be affected.

Marks & Spencer was the first leading high street name to sign up for the development, announcing plans to shut its store on Yorkshire Street in favor of opening a flagship store on Rochdale Riverside. However, after tough deliberating, M&S has decided not to relocate and to remain on Yorkshire Street. Rochdale council chief executive Steve Rumbelow has warned that M&S signed a legally-binding agreement to take the retail space in Rochdale Riverside after negotiating a deal as a key anchor tenant and that they expect them to fulfill their legal obligation. Other M&S locations reportedly at risk include Chorley and Morecambe.

However, M&S stated that the discussions concerning the Rochdale development were ongoing and that they had made no further decisions concerning other developments at the moment. “As part of our transformation programme, we are reviewing potential store openings and will only proceed with sites that will deliver the highest returns,” an M&S spokesperson said. “We will provide an update when the time is right.”

Read more on M&S turnaround plans here.

Photo: M&S White City