M&S has signalled its intention to consider another 17 store closures putting more retail jobs at risk and bringing further pressure to the UK’s high streets.
According to the GMB, up to 1,000 jobs could be under threat with the new store closure plans.
Gary Carter, GMB National Officer, said: “2019 has started exactly where we left off last year; with more retail jobs under threat.
“Employees across the sector will be very worried about their job security and wondering which retailer will be next to shed jobs or close down.
“The CMA decision on ASDA/Sainsbury’s merger is imminent and this could result in the sell-off of stores. But will buyers be found? How many jobs will go?
“This Government has done nothing to help retailers and the low-paid, hard-working employees who are at the sharp end.”
Catherine Shuttleworth, CEO at shopper marketing agency Savvy, said the substantive nature of the M&S release wasn’t a surprise but the timing was. “Why didn’t they advise this last week in their results update?,” she questioned.
“The stores in the main are in secondary and tertiary high streets possibly with the exception of Hull – that store closure is a really big surprise. We understand that each store is being reviewed on the basis of the lease, profitability, sales performance, future investment and nearby stores. The nearest full store offer to Hull a city of 280k is Scunthorpe, at its most generous that’s a 45 minute journey away including a bridge crossing over the Humber.
“The statement shows that high streets remain under the most intense pressure and even M&S with its heritage and retail experience has to look at a redefined retail offer,” said Shuttleworth.