We’re creating a shopping experience that’s fit for the future. Reshaping our store estate to benefit our customers.
135 years since we served our first customer, how people like to shop has changed. In the past five years alone, online shopping has increased by 80% and people increasingly want a quick, easy and convenient shopping experience.
So, it’s time to reshape our store estate to fit the needs of customers today – and those of tomorrow. That means seamlessly integrating our online, food and clothing stores to offer people the best of M&S – however, whenever and wherever they want to shop.
This reshaping is part of our wider transformation programme that targets every aspect of our business – from our products to our supplier relationships to our digital capability to our culture as an organisation.
Reshaping our store estate means relocations, new openings and some closures.
We are transforming our estate to serve people in the way they want to be served. That means making sure each of our stores is the right format, in the right location, with the right range and the right services for the local community. To do this, we have to close over 100 stores that are loss-making now or will be in the future, which we know impacts customers, colleagues and the communities involved. Where there are closures we work hard to do it in the right way – redeploying colleagues and finding new tenants as quickly as we can. But we’re also investing in relocations, flagship store improvements and our digital capability, to make sure those customers affected – and many more – can shop at M&S easily, with better choice, value and service. This is how we are building a ‘clicks and bricks’ offer that best serves our customers. Where we have closed stores, we are seeing an encouraging number of customers moving to nearby stores and enjoying shopping with us in a better environment, which is why we’re continuing to transform our estate with pace.
In fact, M&S is leading one of the UK’s biggest store opening programmes: in 2018/19 alone, we opened 49 stores whilst we closed 39. These new stores serve customers in a way they want to be served.
For example, in March, less than two weeks after closing our decades-old store on Church Street, St. Helen’s, Ravenhead, we opened a brand new one just down the road in Ravenhead Retail Park. The new store is an investment in the local community, our colleagues, and customers – both current and future. It offers a larger product range, improved layout and is better integrated with our online services like Click & Collect. It’s also more suited to busy families, with 1,000 car parking spaces, a café and an extended kidswear range.
We’re also investing in our store services to cater to the needs of local communities.
Reshaping our store estate is about more than opening, closing and relocating stores – which are all things we’ve done for a number of years. It’s also about investing in our store services.
For example, our rural Oban Foodhall now has a fitting room for customers who purchase clothing via Click & Collect. Our Waterside store is one of six trialling Mobile, Pay, Go – a new app which allows customers to pay for their shopping as they go using their mobile, without having to queue at a checkout – ideal for busy office workers. And 35 of our stores offer a ‘Fit & Style’ service which is complementary to our online styling service – ‘Try Tuesday’.
We’re also investing in technology for our colleagues to help them serve customers better. Over 7,000 mobile devices have been deployed so that colleagues can search for products, get real-time stock updates and order items for customers (if, for example, their size isn’t available or they want to collect it another day), all at the touch of a button.
Reshaping and investing in our estate also means investing in our people.
Retail is changing and M&S is changing, but people will always be at the heart of our business. This programme is about responding to their changing needs and making sure our colleagues are happy, motivated and equipped to provide customers with the best service while managing our stores efficiently.
Which is why, while our store transformation programme means a reduction in jobs in some locations in the UK, we are doing our utmost to keep our people by moving them to new stores, food stores, flagship stores and even online operations. We are determined to keep the talent we have at M&S.
One thing remains fundamental to M&S: great quality and service from people who care.
We are proud of the part we play in our customers’ lives and our goal remains that every customer leaves our store happy. That’s why we’re acting now to make M&S special again and ensure we offer customers the best of M&S over the next 135 years – however, whenever and wherever they want to shop.