M&S has announced a near half a billion (£480 million) investment in bigger, better stores across the UK.

The retailer’s investment will generate over 3,400 new jobs across the country and aims to create a fit for the future M&S store estate and a seamless experience for its customers every time they shop.

At its recent investor day, M&S shared its ambition to accelerate what is a five year store rotation programme and target a delivery within three years by 25/26. As part of its programme acceleration, M&S has already identified a pipeline of 20 new bigger, better stores to be opened in the next financial year.

New-look Foodhall at M&S Chesterfield. Photo credit: Marks and Spencer

Stuart Machin, Chief Executive of M&S commented: 

“Stores are a core part of M&S’s omni-channel future and serve as a competitive advantage for how customers want to shop today. Our store rotation programme is about making sure we have the right stores, in the right place, with the right space and we’re aiming to rotate from the 247 stores we have today to 180 higher quality, higher productivity full line stores that sell our full Clothing, Home and Food offer whilst also opening over 100 bigger, better food sites.
The out performance of our recently relocated and renewed stores, give us the confidence to go faster in our plan. Our investment in stores not only delivers a better experience for customers and colleagues, it boosts local communities with new job creation and will help us deliver a more sustainable estate in every sense.”

The new store pipeline for 23/24 includes 8 full line destination stores in key city locations including a new 97k sq ft store in Leeds White Rose and a 70k sq ft store in Liverpool ONE both due to open in Summer 2023. Later in the year, other major stores will open, including a 65k sq ft store in Birmingham Bullring (Autumn 2023), a 96k sq ft store in Manchester’s Trafford Centre and a 98k sq ft store in Lakeside Thurrock, both set to open in Winter 2023.

All five new stores will be relocated to former Debenhams sites – part of M&S’ investment to regenerate currently vacant sites. Each has been designed with local families in mind, with shoppers able to browse in inspiring settings with wider aisles and a clear line of sight. With fresh market-style food halls stocking the full M&S Food range, spacious Clothing, Home and Beauty departments, brand-new M&S cafes, sustainable innovations such as Fill Your Own, as well as free car parking to make shopping more convenient for customers.

Alongside full line sites, M&S has planned investment in 12 new food halls in communities across the UK. These include a 16k sq ft store in Stockport opening in Summer 2023, a 12k sq ft store in Barnsley (South Yorkshire) opening in Autumn 2023, and a 9,000 sq ft store in Largs (a seaside town in North Ayrshire, about 33 miles from Glasgow) opening in Winter 2023.

In addition to its owned store investment, M&S has plans to extend its successful franchise model to expand its convenience offer. This will mean more customers can enjoy the M&S Food range, building on the existing successful franchise partnerships with BP, Moto, SSP and Costa.

Performance of recently relocated stores gives confidence to programme acceleration

The performance of M&S’ new and recently renewed stores have exceeded the retailers’ expectations, with sales ahead of plan:

  • In Colchester, Clothing & Home sales grew 26% ahead of plans
  • In Lllandudno, Clothing & Home sales were up 35% and food sales up 75%
  • In the newly expanded M&S Food store in Oatlands in Harrogate, there was a sales increase of 26%

In November, M&S moved from an aging town centre site in Chesterfield to a new 46,000 sq ft store in Ravenside Retail Park just 0.5 miles away, offering extensive free parking for customers and creating 100 new jobs for the community. Overall sales were up 103% in December vs last year. Additionally, the opening was seen by the local council as a demonstration of ‘confidence’ in the town’s future and complementary to the town centre regeneration plans (see notes to editors for full quote).

M&S has seen strong performances from its recently relocated stores, with payback on net capital investment within two years, giving the retailer the confidence to go faster. Through the store rotation programme, M&S will see a reduction in lease liability (£309m).

New stores support the omni-channel shopping experience customers want

The store rotation programme is underpinned by a substantial investment in new digital services to offer an omnichannel service to customers. This includes the roll-out of Digital Click & Collect to130 stores across the UK, enabling customers to collect their parcel in under 60 seconds, and Scan & Shop which is used by around 33,000 customers each week and lets customers use their phone to scan and bag food items as they shop, directly from the M&S app.

In M&S’ Christmas trading update, it was announced that there was a 33% uplift in sales through the M&S app, and active app users grew to five million, up from four million. In the period a third of all online sales were made through the M&S App and those who shop with M&S on multiple channels are 8x more valuable – demonstrating the advantage of a truly omnichannel retail offer.

Building a sustainable store estate in every sense

M&S has always led on sustainability and, in 2021, reset its Plan A programme with a singular focus on becoming a net zero business across its entire value chain by 2040 – ten years earlier than the Government’s UK-wide strategy. As well as introducing more efficient LED lighting and smart building controls this year, M&S is exploring energy generation opportunities across the estate including the installation of solar PVs at a number of viable sites.

Additionally, M&S is making it easier for customers to live more sustainable lives, such as introducing ultra-fast Electric Vehicle charging points at around 70 M&S stores, in partnership with BP Pulse.

Releasing value from older sites to fund rotation

The investment in M&S’ accelerated store rotation programme aims to create an estate of 180 Full Line stores and 420 owned food stores by FY25/26. Funding it will require M&S to release development value that exists in some of its older sites across the UK. The store rotation programme plans to modernise stores and create a retail environment that customers want today.

M&S is in a unique position to unlock this value, as it owns around 40% of its estate – including its Marble Arch site. More information on how M&S plans to deliver a bold, sustainable and innovative Marble Arch site that is better for colleagues, customers, communities and carbon can be read here.

The list below reflects M&S investment activity in FY 2022/2023:

New full line store

  • Stevenage (opened 28th April 2022)
  • Colchester (opened 7th Sep 2022)
  • Chesterfield (opened 30th Nov 2022)

Brand new Foodhall stores include:

  • Canary Wharf Cross Rail Place (2nd Nov 2022)
  • Battersea Power Station (10th Nov 2022)
  • Harrogate Oatlands (29th Nov 2022) – extension
  • Macclesfield (30th Nov 2022)

Full renewal includes:

  • London Colney (opened 2nd December 2022)
  • Liffey Valley Dublin (opened 22nd November 2022)

In addition, the list of planned openings below reflects part of the FY 23/24 investment pipeline.

New full line store

  • Purley Way (expected Summer 2023)

New full line stores (relocations)

  • Leeds White Rose (expected Summer 2023)
  • Liverpool (expected Summer 2023)
  • Birmingham Bullring (Autumn 2023)
  • Lakeside Thurrock (Winter 2023)
  • Trafford Centre (Winter 2023)

New Foodhalls:

  • Stockport (expected Summer 2023)
  • Barnsley (expected Autumn 2023)
  • Largs (expected Winter 2023)

Photo credit: Marks and Spencer


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