M&S to turn part of its flagship London store into office space as shoppers flock online
Marks & Spencer is converting most of its London Marble Arch store into offices following a dramatic shift to online shopping.
The High Street icon will knock down and redevelop the flagship site on London’s Oxford Street where it has five floors of shop space.
Under the proposals, a nine-storey building will be built, with just the bottom two floors devoted to retail.
Marks & Spencer will knock down and redevelop the flagship site on London’s Oxford Street (pictured) where it has five floors of shop space
The remaining floors will be given over to offices with space for 4,000 workers, a landscaped public area labelled a ‘pocket-park’ and leisure facilities such as a gym.
The move comes months after John Lewis announced it would convert the top floors of its Oxford Street store to offices, and is a stark reminder of the changing face of the High Street.
The pandemic has accelerated the growth of online shopping, meaning many stores expect to make over half their sales online.
This has forced chains to reconsider how much costly shopping space they can afford to keep.
Even successful brands have been forced to downsize. Zara’s owner Inditex is closing 1,200 stores around the world, while Swedish giant H&M is closing 250.
Overall 16,000 UK shops shut their doors permanently in 2020, and a further 20,000 are expected to close this year, putting 200,000 people out of work.
The Marble Arch store, which has been an M&S since 1930, is its largest shop with 160,000 square foot of space – slightly bigger than two full-size football pitches.
Shares rose 3.3 per cent to 154p yesterday, the highest level since the market dived this time last year.