M&S remains committed to Paisley food hall plans as 7,000 jobs are slashed

The planned M&S Food Hall in Paisley will still go ahead, the company has said as it announces 7,000 job cuts across the UK.

M&S chiefs this morning told the Express it is still committed to opening the food shop within Wallneuk Retail Park before Christmas.

The retailer announced its plans for the food hall last month as it confirmed its outlet on High Street will close.

At the time, staff were told they would be given the opportunity to relocate to the new premises, while clothing and retail staff were informed they would be transferred to nearby intu Braehead.

But today, those jobs, along with all others in M&S stores across the UK are under threat.

The retail giant revealed earlier today that the jobs would go within the next three months as it grapples with the impact of coronavirus on the business.

It would however not reveal how many roles would be affected at the Renfrewshire stores.

A spokesman for M&S said: “The announcement today is unrelated to our store estate reshape plans, so the new Paisley Food Hall plans are progressing as we announced previously.

“Across M&S, we need to accelerate our transformation to become a leaner, faster, more efficient business and deliver on our promise to make the positive ways we have worked during the pandemic permanent and ensure we are set up to serve our customers’ needs.”

News of the job cuts come as M&S confirms the total revenue from its clothing arm fell 38.5 per cent in the past 13 weeks and said its shoppers have made a marked shift to shop online.

In past eight weeks, online sales have represented 41 per cent of the company’s sales in the clothing and home departments.

Food too is continuing to thrive with total food sales up by 2.5 per cent in the past 13 weeks.

Steve Rowe, chief executive of M&S, said the business was now undergoing a transformation – dubbed the Never The Same Again programme – to take account of these changes in shopping behaviour.

He said: “In May we outlined our plans to learn from the crisis, accelerate our transformation and deliver a stronger, more agile business in a world in which some customer habits were changed forever.

“Three months on and our Never the Same Again programme is progressing; albeit the outlook is uncertain and we remain cautious.

“As part of our Never The Same Again programme to embed the positive changes in ways of working through the crisis, we are today announcing proposals to further streamline store operations and management structures.

“These proposals are an important step in becoming a leaner,faster business set up to serve changing customer needs and we are committed to supporting colleagues through this time.”

Daily Record – Paisley