Britain's Marks & Spencer says it will shut about 30 stores at home and 53 abroad, with its new boss seeking to revive the retailer by focusing more on food and less on its struggling clothes and homewares ranges. Hayley Platt reports.
Marks and Spencer is pulling down the shutters on some of its stores as profits tumble. The retailer posted disappointing half year results - down 19 percent. Shares fell too more than 6 percent. The British retailer says it wants to change its focus from fashion to food. (SOUNDBITE) (English) MARKS AND SPENCER, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, STEVE ROWE, SAYING: "We'll take clothing and home wear from 60 stores. They'll be about 30 closures of clothing and home stores in total. Some will be relocated, some will be changed to Simply Food stores but the plan is over 5 years to increase the number of stores we've got." They'll be an even big shake-up abroad. Fifty-three stores in 10 loss-making markets are to close too including China and France. Not everyone thinks that's wise. SOUNDBITE (English) CHIEF ECONOMIST, WORLD FIRST, JEREMY COOK, SAYING: "Businesses at the moment should be looking to export and try and find new markets abroad because obviously any profits that are generated abroad given the fall in the pound are going to be worth a lot more back here in the UK." Even celebrities like Alexa Chung have had little impact on shoppers. (SOUNDBITE) (English) UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN, SAYING: "Clothing's gone down the pan, completely." Marks and Spencer opened it's first store in the northern English town of Leeds 132-years ago. (SOUNDBITE) (English) KATE HARDCASTLE, RETAIL ANALYST, SAYING: "They've tried to be too many things to too many different people with their clothing and with their non-food offer and that has left them with a very disparate offer, people saying it's hard to find things on the shop floor." M&S says it's 100 million pound turnaround plan is not the beginning of the end but simply a new beginning.