Retail plan

M&S invests £30m in Scotland but city store shuts

Shape of the future: M&S is investing in out of town stores

M&S is investing £30 million in stores across Scotland – its biggest ever commitment north of the border – but there is a bitter-sweet plan for Aberdeen with the closure of one store and expansion of another.

The retail giant will spend £15m almost doubling the size of its Aberdeen Union Square retail park store.

However, the St Nicholas Street store will close after 80 years, delivering another setback to plans to revive the city centre which has also lost Debenham’s and John Lewis. All those on permanent contracts will transfer to Aberdeen Union Square.

An M&S foodhall is opening in Linlithgow later this month and a new full-line store in Dundee’s Gallagher Retail Park is on track to open in the summer. M&S will open in Largs for the first time with a new foodhall in early 2025, and a convenience store is opening in the Stockbridge area of Edinburgh.

The latest investment is part of a strategy of investing in out-of-town retail and follows the closure of stores in the centre of Glasgow and Paisley.

The retailer is evolving from a base of 247 stores across the UK to 180 higher quality, higher productivity full-line stores, while also opening over 100 bigger food sites by 2027/28. It has invested in 11 new and renewed stores over the last four years in Scotland.

New plans for Aberdeen Union Square include a fresh market-style food hall, including a larger in-store bakery and a dedicated M&S Wine Shop. More space will be given to clothing, home and beauty departments.

M&S said it will work closely with the council on the future development of the St Nicholas store.

The St Nicholas site after refurbishment in 1966

Rachel Rankine, north east regional manager for M&S, said: “The scale of our investment is a vote of confidence in the future of retail in Aberdeen city centre, with a flagship store on the same scale as city centre stores in Birmingham and Liverpool. 

“Where we have already invested in new formats, our customers have responded to the destination shopping experience and Aberdeen shoppers can look forward to having a bigger, better, fresher food hall and the best in M&S clothing and home.”  

M&S said Scotland is an important strategic sourcing location for it – with 2,500 Scottish farms in its supply chain and long-standing partnerships with companies such as Kettle Produce, McSween and Scottish Sea Farms. Many Scottish-sourced product lines are sold not just in 94 stores in Scotland but across a wider network of stores across the UK and beyond. 

Sacha Berendji, M&S operations director, added: “This is our biggest ever investment in Scotland, putting £30m into transforming the shopping experience for customers in Aberdeen, Largs, Dundee and Linlithgow.

“Our investment in Scotland goes beyond new stores with M&S sourcing more Scottish produce than ever before, through strong partnerships with local producers. 

“Our commitment to Scotland has never been stronger.”

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