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Marks & Spencer to invest 48.5 million pounds into northern UK stores

By Rachel Douglass

1 Dec 2022

Retail

Marks & Spencer St. Helen's store. Image: Marks & Spencer

Marks & Spencer has outlined a new plan that will see it invest 48.5 million pounds into stores in the North of England.

It comes as part of the retailer’s store rotation programme, which it said aims to create a retail estate “fit for the future”.

In a release, Sacha Berendij, retail operations director, said: “Whilst other retailers go online, or sadly disappear, we are committed to having great shops.

“That means having the right store, in the right place, with the right space to serve our customers the way they want to shop today.”

This week has already seen the strategy being put into place, with the opening of a new store in Chesterfield’s Ravenside Retail Park, the first full line store opening in the North of England since April 2020, and a 6,500 square foot extension of its Harrogate Oatlands store.

Further renewals that have been or will be implemented include stores in Newcastle’s Silverlink and Gosforth, Lincoln and Sheffield’s Ecclesall Road, representing a 20 million pound investment during 2022 across the region.

The retailer also noted that it had identified two new larger sites at Liverpool One and Leeds White Rose, set to open in 2023, the latter of which is a former Debenhams site. The new stores reflect a 28.5 million pound investment.

Target of 180 larger stores by 2025

According to the department store chain, the programme has already created 200 jobs across northern towns and cities this year.

During its recent investor day, Marks & Spencer re-affirmed its target to move to 180 high quality larger stores that house its full clothing, home and food lines, while also opening over 100 new bigger food sites, creating a network of 450 owned ‘Simply Foods’.

It added that it was looking to accelerate the delivery of the programme to three years, ahead of its initial 2028 target.

Marks & Spencer further reported strong performances at its recently relocated stores, with a payback on net capital investment within two years.

It concluded: “It has been clear that investment in its store estate will require Marks & Spencer to unlock development value that exists in some of its older sites across the UK, such as its March Arch site.”

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