Two local stores axed in M&S cull

HIGH Street giant Marks & Spencer is to close 27 stores - including at least one in East Anglia - after announcing its worst sales figures for nearly 10 years.

HIGH Street giant Marks & Spencer is to close 27 stores - including five in the East of England - after announcing its worst sales figures for nearly 10 years.

M&S plans to axe 25 underperforming Simply Food outlets, including the branches in Sudbury, Braintree, the Grafton Centre in Cambridge, Huntingdon and Letchworth, together with two of its smaller main stores, in Croydon and Woking.

The closures will involve the loss of up to 780 jobs, and as many as 450 more posts are to be cut from the struggling group's head office operation.

Yesterday's announcement came alongside a Christmas trading update showing a 7.1% fall in like-for-like sales during the 13 weeks to December 27, despite heavy price-cutting in the final run-up to the festive season.


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It is the firm's biggest slump in sales since the summer of 1999, and the worst since company boss Sir Stuart Rose - who has a home in Suffolk - took the helm in 2004.

In a statement today, M&S said it believed it had looked at “every available option” to keep the stores open but in the “tough trading environment” they were no longer commercially viable.

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A period of consultation will now start with the affected employees. M&S added that, in the event of closure, employees would be offered “appropriate help” to find alternative employment in their local area.

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