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Marks & Spencer says it's committed to Ireland amid plans to close stores

The retailer has seen a large dip in profits.

Image: Jonathan Brady PA Wire/PA Images

MARKS AND SPENCER has said it remains committed to its Irish outlets as it plans to scale back operations.

M&S is set to close down about 30 clothing and homeware stores in the UK and turn a further 45 into food shops.

The retailer also plans to close 53 stores in 10 loss-making international markets, including France, the Netherlands and China.

The announcement was made as the company published its half-year results today, showing its pre-tax profit dropped by 88.4% to £25.1 million (about €28.2 million) – down from £216 million (€242.8 million) in the same period last year.

Steve Rowe, M&S CEO, said: “We have now completed a forensic review of our estate both in the UK and in our international markets. Over the next five years we will transform our UK estate with circa 60 fewer Clothing & Home stores, whilst continuing to increase the number of our Simply Food stores.

Internationally, we propose to cease trading in 10 loss making owned markets, but intend to continue to develop our presence through our strong franchise partners.

“These are tough decisions, but vital to building a future M&S that is simpler, more relevant, multi-channel and focused on delivering sustainable returns.”

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In a separate statement, Alison Grainger, head of M&S in Ireland, said the retailer “will continue to operate its profitable owned business in the Republic of Ireland, where there is strong brand awareness, an established store estate and loyal customer base”.

“Customers can continue to shop with us at our 17 Irish stores and via our Irish website,” Grainger added.

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