Marks and Spencer has announced it is closing 14 stores nationwide amid a worsening financial position.
None of them are in Kent. However, the retail giant has announced that it will close a further 100 under performing stores by 2022.
The Canterbury district has three M&S outlets – the department store in Canterbury city centre, one in Sturry Road and the Food Hall at Estuary View in Whitstable, which opened in February last year.
Sacha Berendji, the retail and property director at M&S, says closing stores is “vital” for the company’s future.
He said: “We are making good progress with our plans to reshape our store estate to be more relevant to our customers and support our online growth plans.
“Closing stores isn’t easy but it is vital for the future of M&S.
“Where we have closed stores, we are seeing an encouraging number of customers moving to nearby stores and enjoying shopping with us in a better environment, which is why we’re continuing to transform our estate with pace.”
The first round of closures comes as the retailer announces another troubling set of annual figures with pre-tax profits dropping by 5.4%.
Retail industry insider Terry Hunter of Astound Commerce said: “The news of the M&S store closures is yet another dagger in the heart of the British high street. The retailer plans to move a third of its sales online, and intends to instead have fewer, larger clothing and homeware stores in better locations.
“If the company is going to recover from its recent sales slump, it is imperative that it has an exceptional online offering. It will now be competing more directly than ever with the likes of Amazon and Asos.”
Marks and Spencer has closed 21 stores since November 2016.