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M&S yet to announce the fate of Inverness store

By Calum MacLeod

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Marks & Spencer's Eastgate store in Inverness.
Marks & Spencer's Eastgate store in Inverness.

Shoppers will have to wait to learn the fate of the Inverness branch of Marks & Spencer after the announcement of plans to close 30 of its full-line stores in the next decade.

It comes after a challenging year for one of the UK's best known retailers, with a £207 million loss in the last financial year.

The proposals will eventually slim M&S to "well-invested full-line stores" in around 180 prime and core markets.

In its report to shareholders, the group said this would mean changes for around 110 stores – just under a third of its total – which offer the full range of food, clothing and household goods.

"This will mean either relocating to a food only store or another full line store or consolidating multiple stores into one. In around 30 locations which can no longer support a store we will close, recapturing trade in nearby stores or online," the report said.

Marks & Spencer chief executive Steve Rowe said: “In a year like no other we have delivered a resilient trading performance, thanks in no small part to the extraordinary efforts of our colleagues. In addition, by going further and faster in our transformation through the Never the Same Again programme, we moved beyond fixing the basics to forge a reshaped M&S. With the right team in place to accelerate change in the trading businesses and build a trajectory for future growth, we now have a clear line of sight on the path to make M&S special again. The transformation has moved to the next phase.”

However, a M&S spokesman told the Inverness Courier that no closure announcement would be made at present and a consultation process would take place before any final decisions were made.

Marks & Spencer's Inverness store is the most northerly full size store in the group and was the original anchor store of the Eastgate shopping centre when it opened in 1983.

The more recent Eastgate II extension lost its own anchor store, Debenhams, earlier this year when the new owners opted not to re-open any of its Scottish stores after the Christmas lockdown.

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