Retailer will open six new stores and renew three more in November, the most it has ever achieved a single month

November 2023 is set to be the biggest month ever for store openings at M&S.

Across the month the retailer will open or renew nine stores, investing £80m in bricks-and-mortar retail and supporting over 2,200 local jobs across the UK.

Kicking off with the opening of a 65,000 sq ft store in Birmingham’s Bullring on 7 November, M&S will launch at least one store a week throughout November. This includes three new full-line store openings, three new M&S Foodhalls, and three store renewals.

The full-line store openings are in Birmingham Bullring, Lakeside Thurrock and Manchester Trafford Centre. Each store will allow shoppers to browse in wider, brighter aisles, with a clear line of sight across the store. They will include fresh market-style food halls stocking the full M&S Food range.

M&S operations director Sacha Berendji said: “Stores are key to our business, and we see them as part of our competitive advantage. Increasing numbers of customers are heading back in to stores to experience the best of M&S all under one roof, supported by outstanding service from our colleagues, and we expect this to continue as we head into Christmas.”

M&S added that the openings are part of its aim to become the UK’s leading omnichannel retailer, with its store rotation programme at the centre of this ambition.

According to the retailer, the store rotation programme ensures it has the right stores, in the right place, with the right space.

The retailer is aiming to rotate from a base of 247 stores to 180 “higher-quality, higher-productivity full-line stores” that sell its clothing, home and food ranges. In addition, M&S plans to open over 100 “bigger and better” food sites by the 2027/28 financial year.

At the start of the year M&S set out an investment of around £500m in its store rotation programme and outlined its ambition to accelerate the programme.

In the last year, M&S’s recently relocated stores have performed strongly, with good payback on invested capital, giving the retailer the confidence to go faster.

As part of the investment, M&S relocated to new stores in Leeds White Rose and Liverpool One in the summer of 2023. It said both have performed ahead of expectations.

The retailer added that the relocations also deliver environmental benefits. The new Liverpool ONE store, for example, is a more efficient and modern building. It uses LED lighting and a natural refrigeration system that is 55 per cent more efficient than the one in the store it has replaced. It also delivers a 69 per cent reduction in carbon emissions.

Additionally, M&S has already opened a number of new Foodhalls this year, including in Purley Way, Stockport and Clacton.

Alongside the store openings, M&S recently announced it is hiring over 10,000 new customer assistants to support in its stores over the festive period.

The vacancies represent a 40 per cent increase on last year and reflect the additional investment M&S is making in colleague hours to support customers on the shop floor.