The British retailer is seeking to operate an optimised UK estate of ‘higher quality, higher productivity’ stores focused on convenience-led hospitality experiences
A new M&S store in Leeds White Rose, expected to open Summer 2023 | Photo credit: M&S
M&S has announced a £480m ($586m) investment to reshape its UK store portfolio, with new M&S Café’s a central part of plans to increase convenience for consumers.
The multinational retailer is seeking to decrease its UK store count from 247 to 180 as part of a store rotation programme, which will see other sites retrofitted to be ‘higher quality, higher productivity full-line stores’.
In a bid to attract higher income consumers, the stores will feature new M&S Cafés, fresh market-style food halls and sustainable innovations such as Fill Your Own stations, which include coffee alongside other cupboard staples such as pasta and cereal.
Alongside the full store restructure, M&S also plans to increase its Simply Food outlets by 104 to reach 420 and expand its convenience offer via renewed franchise agreements with Costa Coffee, BP, Moto and SSP.
In November 2021 M&S announced a collaboration with Costa Coffee to launch its food products across the UK coffee chain’s 2,500 stores. The partnership was revamped in March 2022 to include more M&S items.
“Stores are a core part of M&S’s omni-channel future and serve as a competitive advantage for how customers want to shop today. Our store rotation programme is about making sure we have the right stores, in the right place, with the right space and we’re aiming to rotate from the 247 stores we have today to 180 higher quality, higher productivity full line stores that sell our full clothing, home and food offer whilst also opening over 100 bigger, better food sites,” said Stuart Machin, CEO, M&S.
In June 2022, M&S opened its first new-look M&S Café in Solihull as part of a wider renewal of its hospitality offering. The store design features on-screen and on-phone ordering alongside a new pour-over coffee machine.
M&S has previously said that ‘hospitality represents a sizeable chunk of its trading space in the UK’, with over 36 million hot beverages served from the company’s 330-strong M&S Café network each year.
In January 2023 M&S Café introduced ‘Magic Coffee’ – a beverage comprising ristretto and steamed milk and touted as the next flat white – to its cafés. Originating from Melbourne, Australia, the beverage has been promoted as an ‘uniquely bold coffee, without the bitterness’ given its ‘perfectly balanced ratio of coffee to milk'.