Marks & Spencer is opening 36 new United Kingdom stores
Debenhams also announced today that 10 of its stores deemed to be at risk of becoming loss-making within five years could be closed, or turned into outlet stores as new chief executive Sergio Bucher introduced plans to make the group's stores more amenable to "social shopping".
In addition to Monks Cross Simply Food, M&S has also proposed the closure of Slough, Portsmouth, Warrington, Wokingham and Worksop Simply Food stores.
However, M&S has promised them employment in nearby stores.
He added that there are question marks over the planning documents for Marks and Spencer's branch at the Gemini Retail Park and whether keeping the town centre shop was one of the conditions added to the application.
The company, famous for its luxury food and quality clothing, now has nearly 960 stores open across the country, but some feel it has lost its mojo in recent years. "We are committed to adapting our business so that we stay in tune with our customers".
The new stores include new Foodhalls in Bishopsgate, Huntingdon, Aylesbury, Spinningfields, and Strood.
City analysts have complained that M&S has too many stores at a time when sales are transferring to the internet.
M&S said it is consulting with affected staff and those impacted by the closures will be guaranteed redeployment nearby. The shakeup of the retailer's estate will mean a reduction of 10% in the floor space devoted to racks of skirts, jumpers and pants.
"M&S stores will always be an integral part of our customer offer, working seamlessly alongside our website, M&S.com, to deliver great products and service to our customers", Rowe said.
"We will open new stores, some will reduce in size, some will move, some will close and others will convert to food-only".
M&S now has 959 United Kingdom stores- 304 full line stores, 615 Food-only stores and 40 Outlets. "It is our intention that nobody leaves M&S and we will work as hard as possible to ensure that we can deliver against this promise".
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