Marks & Spencer to close 100 stores, unveils 'digital first' strategy

Brand ambassador and This Morning presenter Holly Willoughby stars in M&S' Christmas advert 2018

M&S' new Christmas campaign starring ambassador Holly Willoughby (centre)

Marks and Spencer (M&S) has announced more than 100 store closures by 2022 as part of efforts to turn around the struggling business.

The multinational retailer has been struggling in recent years and M&S CEO Steve Rowe said it was “leaving no stone unturned” as it unveiled a £350m cost saving strategy.

The news came as M&S reported a sales drop of 3.1% to £5bn for the six months to the end of September.

M&S warned that current traditions and the financial year “remain challenging”.

However, a new leadership team will be appointed to direct, what it calls, “the biggest turnaround project in UK retail”.

“Against the background of profound structural change in our industry, we are leaving no stone unturned and reshaping our business, its organisation and culture,” said Rowe.

Competition from online retailers and discounters have been attributed to the difficult retail conditions.

M&S has set out ‘digital first’ plans – an area it has previously neglected – to catch up with rival retailers.

“Our website and online fulfilment capability remain well behind the best of our competitors,” said M&S.

The company will send 1,000 employees on a digital immersion programme to help improve the agility of the company.

British television personality Holly Willoughby stars in the company’s first ‘digital first’ Christmas advert.

In a bid to attract younger consumers to the brand, M&S will be using a variety of channels from shoppable Instagram, programmatic display and Google Shopping in the Must-Have campaign.


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