Marks & Spencer confirmed today that it will be shutting 27 stores and shedding 1,200 jobs.
IT jobs could be at risk, with 450 jobs going at the company's head office as the retailer looks to cut costs. The redundancies will see a cut of about 15% in headcount at its head office.
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The retailer's UK sales in the four months to 27 December were down 3.4% compared to the previous quarter, despite 20% discount-days before Christmas and the company's biggest ever trading day on 23 December, when it netted more than £50m worth of sales.
As a result 27 stores will be closed, 25 of which are small Simply Food stores. Capital expenditure will be capped at £700m for 2008/09 and £400m for 2009/10.
Chief executive Stuart Rose said, "We are aware that the proposed changes set out above will be difficult for those members of staff impacted, but given that we expect challenging economic conditions to continue for at least the next 12 months we believe we are taking the right action to maintain the strength of our business."