Marks & Spencer (M&S) has announced plans to open 36 new stores in the UK over the next six months, which will create more than 1,400 new jobs.

It also plans to close six stores, which will impact 380 employees. They will be guaranteed redeployment in nearby stores.

This is part of the five-year programme to better meet the changing needs of customers.

Of the 36 new stores proposed, 34 are food stores and two are clothing, home and food stores.

The new food stores will open at Foodhalls in Bishopsgate (London, near Liverpool Street), Huntingdon, Aylesbury, Spinningfields (central Manchester) and Strood (Kent). M&S Clothing, Home and Food stores will open in Bracknell and Rushden in July.

"We are committed to adapting our business so that we stay in tune with our customers."

M&S chief executive Steve Rowe said: “M&S stores will always be an integral part of our customer offer, working seamlessly alongside our website, M&, to deliver great products and service to our customers.

"However, our customers’ shopping habits are changing. Picking up food for now or tonight rather than doing one big shop or browsing and shopping online and collecting in store are great examples of this and we are committed to adapting our business so that we stay in tune with our customers.

“This means there will be more M&S colleagues working in an increased number of convenient locations, serving more customers. It also means that we will open new stores, some will reduce in size, some will move, some will close and others will convert to Food-only. Each proposal we make will be very carefully considered with our colleagues and customers firmly front of mind. It is our intention that nobody leaves M&S and we will work as hard as possible to ensure that we can deliver against this promise.”

M&S announced its five-year store estate programme last November after a full review of its UK store portfolio.

The plans include opening of 200 new food-only stores and selling clothing and home products from 60 fewer locations.

The retailer currently has 959 UK stores, of which 304 are full line stores, 615 are food-only stores.