M&S to close 100 United Kingdom stores by 2022

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M&S had in November 2016 launched a five-year overhaul of its United Kingdom stores amid fierce competition from supermarkets and budget garment chain Primark - as well as online giants like Amazon.

Britain's Marks & Spencer said it needed to modernise urgently to survive after a second straight annual profit fall and a 321 million pound ($429 million) charge for a major store closure programme.

The chain revealed on Tuesday that it was putting thousands of jobs at risk through plans to extend its programme of store closures to 100 sites by 2022.

He added: "At our half-year results in November I outlined the need for accelerated change at M&S".

Rowe's plan is the latest in a series of efforts to update the 134-year-old retailer, which has struggled to compete with the rise of cheap fast fashion chains and low-priced food retailers.

The shares were up 2.02pc at 297.7p mid-morning.

Currently, around 18 percent of M&S' clothing and home sales are made online.

It said online sales were growing, but that its online capability was "behind the best of our competitors and our website is too slow".

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The retailer said that this is the first phase in the campaign that will see further prices lowered in the coming months.

"Closing stores isn't easy but it is vital for the future of M&S", said retail director Sacha Berendji.

"These changes come with short term costs which are reflected in today's results".

Steve Rowe, an M&S lifer who has been CEO for two years, said the firm was taking steps to fix the structural issues.

"In the past year traditional retailers like Marks have faced a flawless storm of rising costs, a constrained consumer, and the relentless growth of online competition", said Hargreaves Lansdown analyst Laith Khalaf.

"The team is now tackling transforming our culture to make M&S a faster, lower cost, more commercial, more digital business".

The retailer's troubled clothing arm saw like-for-like sales fall by 1.9% in the year.

Clothing & Home revenue fell 1.4 percent to 3,741.1 million pounds for the 52 weeks to March 31, 2018, with like-for-like revenue down 1.9 percent.