Marks & Spencer to close Durham store as it axes hundreds of jobs nationwide
The Marks & Spencer store in Durham is set to close as the retailer announced a major restructuring programme.
The high street giant is proposing to shut stores in Andover, Basildon, Bridlington, Denton, Falmouth, Fareham, Keighley and Stockport, with 468 staff entering consultation.
Another six stores will close by the end of April, including the one in Silver Street, Durham, whose staff will be redeployed to other M&S stores.
The others are Birkenhead, Bournemouth, Fforestfach, Putney and Redditch in a move which is part of chief executive Steve Rowe's five-year turnaround plan.
His tenure has seen a string of changes at M&S, including a raft of shop closures and a withdrawal from international markets as the chief executive attempts to rejuvenate the ailing retailer.
M&S recently said it would cease operations at its London distribution centre, putting 380 jobs at risk, and outsource more than half of its 430-strong IT team in a move that will cut costs by around Â£30million a year.
Lindsay Austin, M&S Head of Region for the North East of England, said: “Closing our store in Durham city centre is not a decision we have taken lightly.
"We value the loyalty of our customers in the area and know that some of them will be disappointed by the news.
"I’m pleased our colleagues from the store will be staying with us, and we are committed to delivering the very best of M&S for our customers from nearby stores.”
M&S will retain a store in Durham, three miles outside the city centre in the Arnison Centre at Pity Me.
Sacha Berendji, director of retail at M&S, said: "We're committed to transforming M&S for our customers, colleagues and shareholders.
"Stores will always be an integral part of our customer experience, alongside M&S.com, but we have to ensure we have the right offer in the right locations.
"We don't want any colleagues to leave M&S and we will work with each colleague individually on what is best for them as we endeavour to give everyone a role. However, we accept in some cases we may have to consider redundancy.
"We believe these changes are vital for the future of M&S and we will continue to accelerate the programme, taking tough but necessary decisions, as we focus on making M&S special."
The retailer also said that it has "reassessed and reduced" its Simply Food opening programme, and now only plans to open a total of 36 owned and franchise stores over the next six months.