Marks & Spencer will spend £12.5 million expanding its London retail portfolio, with a pipeline of new outlets likely to create 200 new jobs for Londoners.
It follows a £10.3 million investment in the historic retailer’s London store estate last year, which also resulted in the creation of 200 jobs, for a total of £23 million and 400 jobs over a two-year period.
The majority of retailers will be food-focused, with food halls debuting in Earlsfield, a food hall in Liverpool Street Station, and a refurbished M&S food hall in Waterloo Station.
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This week, the firm will launch a new 38,000 sq ft store in Croydon’s Purley Way, which will be a “full-line” store retailing clothing, home products, food, and will include an M&S Café.
Chief executive Stuart Machin said: “M&S has been innovating in London for over a hundred years. We’re proud that many of our high street ‘firsts’ were born in the capital – from operating a chain of penny bazaars across London in the early 20th century to opening our first ever Simply Food here in 2001, and trialing our first new-look Foodhall design in Clapham in 2019.”
“Today, a third of all M&S stores are located in London – whether in train stations, shopping centres, or high streets – and today’s investment shows that we are committed to offering shoppers in our great capital city the best of M&S for the next 100 years and beyond.”
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Mr. Machin has lambasted the government’s decision to end tax-free shopping and the “proliferation of tacky candy stores” on Oxford Street, claiming that London has slipped behind other large cities.
In a letter in the Evening Standard, he said: “The high street which is meant to be the jewel in London’s crown today is a national embarrassment, with a proliferation of tacky candy stores, antisocial behaviour and footfall remaining in the doldrums, 11% down on pre-pandemic levels.
“And the scrapping of tax-free shopping for international visitors only holds London back further. Meanwhile, other cities are beginning to thrive again. It pains me to see our great city like this. For too long now it has been on life support.”
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Source: Retail Gazette
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