15 November 2016 - Janet Bird
Amid growing speculation that closures were on the cards, Marks & Spencer has confirmed it is to shut 30 stores in the UK as part of a five year restructuring plan.
A further 45 will be either downsized or converted to Marks & Spencer's more successful Simply Food stores.
Indeed, the retailer is keen to focus more on food, making plans to open 200 more Simply Food outlets across the UK by 2019 a cornerstone of its restructure.
A major overhaul of 100 stores - around 25 percent of the Marks & Spencer estate in the UK - will also take place.
Marks & Spencer is to drastically reduce its overseas presence, closing 53 international stores and withdrawing completely from ten countries, including Belgium, Hungary, Estonia and Lithuania.
Speculation had been growing for some time that Marks & Spencer would announce store closures.
CEO Steve Rowe announced the closures after revealing pre-tax profits for the 26 weeks to October 1 had fallen 88 percent to £25.1m, due to a number of large one-off costs, including changes to staff pay and pensions. When these one off costs are stripped away, profits fell 18.6pc to £231m, hindered by poor sales in its clothing and home division.