The retailer is on track to open five new and expanded stores in Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Largs and Linlithgow
M&S has unveiled plans to invest £30 million in bricks and mortar stores across Scotland.
The retailer’s investment will deliver more than five new store openings and expansions over the next eighteen months, supporting over 6,500 jobs in communities across the country, it announced yesterday (18 January).
As one of the biggest private sector investments in Aberdeen for years, these plans include £15m for M&S Aberdeen Union Square – next year expanding to almost the double the size with a spacious fresh market-style food hall full of new features including a beautiful flower shop, a cheese barge, larger in-store bakery and dedicated M&S Wine Shop as well as bigger clothing, home and beauty departments – all designed to make shopping inspirational and easier than ever before.
Alongside a new M&S foodhall coming to Linlithgow later this month, there’s more investment in the Northeast economy with a new full-line store in Dundee’s Gallagher Retail Park on track to open in Summer 2024. M&S will also open in Largs for the first time with a new foodhall due to open in early 2025.
Scotland is also an important strategic sourcing location for M&S – with 2,500 Scottish farms in its supply chain and long-standing partnerships with companies such as Kettle Produce, McSween and Scottish Sea Farms. Many Scottish-sourced product lines are sold not just in 94 stores in Scotland but across a wider network of stores across the UK and beyond.
Sacha Berendji, M&S operations director said: “This is our biggest ever investment in Scotland, putting £30m into transforming the shopping experience for customers in Aberdeen, Largs, Dundee and Linlithgow - bringing new jobs across the country with bigger, better, fresh-market style foodhalls and new opportunities for Scottish shoppers to access our best-ever, most inspiringly presented clothing, home and beauty range.
”Our investment in Scotland goes beyond new stores with M&S sourcing more Scottish produce than ever before, through strong partnerships with local producers. Around 2,500 Scottish farms, sea farms and fisheries supply us with great quality products, many supplied beyond Scotland to M&S stores across the UK. Our commitment to Scotland has never been stronger.”
Spring 2025 is when the £15m expansion in Aberdeen Union Square is scheduled to complete and the city can boast the fourth biggest M&S in Scotland. M&S will then be closing its store on St Nicholas Street. Plans for this longer-term relocation have today been shared with colleagues – with all those on permanent contracts transferring over to M&S Aberdeen Union Square or other nearby stores next year.
M&S will work closely with the council and partners on the future development of the St Nicholas store.
Rachel Rankine, North East regional manager for M&S, said: “The scale of our investment is a vote of confidence in the future of retail in Aberdeen city centre, with a flagship store on the same scale as city centre stores in Birmingham and Liverpool. Where we have already invested in new formats, our customers have responded to the destination shopping experience and Aberdeen shoppers can look forward to having a bigger, better, fresher food hall and the best in M&S clothing and home.”
The Scottish investment announced yesterday reflects M&S’ aim to become the UK’s leading omnichannel retailer, with its store rotation programme designed to ensure M&S has the right stores, in the right place with the right space. The retailer is aiming to rotate from a base of 247 stores across the UK to 180 higher quality, higher productivity full line stores that sell its Clothing, Home and Food ranges, while also opening over 100 bigger, better food sites by FY27/28.
At the start of last year, M&S set out a c.£500m multi-year investment in its store rotation programme across the UK and outlined its ambition to go faster in the programme and target delivery in three years instead of five by FY25/26. This new investment of £30m for Scotland announced yesterday is on top of £32m already invested in eleven Scottish stores over the last four years – including brand-new foodhalls in Paisley, Hamilton and East Kilbride.
Beyond this headline investment, M&S has already launched eleven new and renewed stores over the last four years in Scotland, including new foodhalls in Straiton (Edinburgh), Hamilton, Falkirk Central, Cumbernauld, East Kilbride and Paisley alongside renewals and expansions in Glasgow Silverburn, Edinburgh Gyle, Anniesland, Glasgow West End and Bishopbriggs alongside two recently opened convenience stores in Glasgow Battlefield and Glasgow Queen Street.
In the last year, M&S has continued to see strong performances from these recently opened and relocated stores with sales ahead of plan with increased footfall and customers buying bigger baskets of food giving the retailer the confidence to accelerate the programme.