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Marks & Spencer announces plans to open 20 new stores

Marks & Spencer has announced plans to open 20 new shops creating more than 3,400 jobs.

The retailer said that it will open eight full-line stores and 12 new food halls in shopping centres, retail parks and high streets across key locations in the next year.

Nine of the locations have been revealed, with the rest to follow over the coming year.

Norfolk already has 11 M&S branches in King's Lynn, Dereham, Thetford, Attleborough, Diss, Aylsham, Acle, Great Yarmouth, Gorleston and Norwich.

These plans come after the group revealed last year that it would close 67 of its full-line stores, leaving 180 by early 2026.

The group is committing to retail space but M&S wants to open “bigger, better stores”.

Details of the accelerated store openings show that five of the group’s new full-line stores will be based in former Debenhams sites as part of its pledge to regenerate vacant store outlets.

Each of the larger new stores had been designed “with families in mind”, with wider aisles and more spacious clothing and home department.

The stores will also have new M&S cafes and sustainable initiatives such as Fill Your Own and free car parking.

The new openings will bring investment in new stores to £480 million, M&S said.

Stuart Machin, the chief executive of M&S, said a significant presence on the high street was crucial in offering consumers the widest shopping experience. The company is also expanding its Click & Collect offering to 130 stores, while its online sales surged over Christmas.

“Stores are a core part of M&S’s omnichannel future and serve as a competitive advantage for how customers want to shop today,” Machin said. “Our store rotation programme is about making sure we have the right stores, in the right place, with the right space.”

Overall, M&S said that under its five-year plan its estate of 247 stores would transition to 180 “full-line” sites and it would open more than 100 food sites. By its 2025/26 financial year it aims to run 420 food stores across the UK.

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