UK high street retailer Marks & Spencer is set to expedite its clothing store closure programme after experiencing declining profits.
The retailer will also slow its Simply Food store opening plan as it looks ahead to push the next stage of transformation.
In its half-yearly results for 26 weeks to 30 September this year, the retailer’s profit before tax fell by 5.3% from £231.3m to £219.1m.
However, the company’s total revenue grew by 2.6% from £4.99bn to £5.12bn.
Marks and Spencer Group chief executive Steve Rowe said: “The business still has many structural issues to tackle as we embark on the next five years of our transformation, in the context of a very challenging retail and consumer environment.
“Today, we are accelerating our plans to build a business with sustainable, profitable growth, making M&S special again.”
Last November, the retailer announced its UK store estate programme through which it planned to close 60 Clothing and Home locations and open 200 new Food-only stores over a period of five years.
The company’s full-year guidance includes 80 new Simply Food store openings.
Marks & Spencer is also planning to infuse funds into its online capabilities to ensure increased personalised customer services.
The investment is aimed at achieving one-third of the company’s Clothing & Home sales from the online platform.
Over the past 18 months, the retailer took several measures such as reduction of discounting and cutting the price of more than 2,500 lines in order to turnaround the business.