Retail giant unveils 65,000 sq ft store as profits soar by 75%

Credit: M&S

Marks & Spencer’s has kicked off its UK store openings with a 65,000 sq ft Birmingham Bullring store that supports 233 jobs.

The retailer has taken two floors of the former Debenhams store that closed in 2021, as part of M&S’ pledge to regenerate vacant sites.

It’s one of nine openings in England this month following an £80m investment that will see M&S reduce sites from 247 to 180 “higher quality, higher productivity” full-line stores that sell its clothing, home and food ranges. It also plans to open more than 100 improved food sites by 2027-28.

The landmark High Street store was closed on Monday (November 6) with no plans officially revealed for the now vacant site.

After four years of relegation, M&S returned to the FTSE 100 in September and revealed in its report for the six months to the end of September that it would restore an interim dividend.

The retail giant revealed a profit before tax and adjusting items increase of 75% to £360.2m.

Its strong performance was driven primarily by its food division, with total sales increasing by nearly 10.8% to £6.2bn.

In January a £500m investment was announced for M&S’ bigger and better stores programme, which would generate more than 3,400 jobs across the country. Following the announcement, M&S has relocated to new stores in Leeds White Rose and Liverpool ONE in the summer and is set to open a new site at Manchester’s Trafford Centre – all of which are in former Debenhams sites.

Sacha Berendji, operations director at M&S said: “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”.

Alongside store openings, M&S recently announced it is hiring more than 10,000 new customer assistants to support in its stores over the festive period – a 40% increase on last year.

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