Marks & Spencer could abandon a slew of new store openings, putting the future of new retail developments in doubt, according to claims.
The Mail on Sunday claimed that ‘property sources’ said the chain was looking to pull out of up to 60 developments once it had completed a review of expansion plans.
The chain has already said it will close 30 underperforming stores while slowing the expansion of its food stores. It has been widely tipped to announce further closures at the time of its most recent results last month.
The Mail on Sunday said Rochdale Borough Council was considering legal action after the chain decided against opening in the town’s Rochdale Riverside development. ‘As far as the council is concerned, Marks & Spencer has a legally-binding agreement to take space in Rochdale Riverside,’ said Steve Rumbelow, RBC chief executive. ‘They negotiated a deal as a key anchor tenant and committed to it knowingly and willingly. Marks & Spencer should be under no illusion that we expect them to fulfil their legal obligation to Rochdale and the new retail scheme.’
Marks & Spencer said it was still in talks with RBC and no decisions had been made on other developments.
‘As part of our transformation programme, we are reviewing potential store openings and will only proceed with sites that will deliver the highest returns. We will provide an update when the time is right,’ said a spokesman.