HomeShoppingMarks & Spencer make major Irish store announcement after closures within weeks

Marks & Spencer make major Irish store announcement after closures within weeks

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MARKS & Spencer is set to open a new Irish outlet in a shock move after recent store closures here due to a “consistent decline in sales”.

M&S confirmed plans to opening a new store at the Midway M7 Foodcourt in Portlaoise, Co Laois, this year. 

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M&S and Applegreen are set to open 15 new stores by the end of 2024Credit: Getty Images – Getty

It will also offer a click and collect option for clothing and homeware.

M&S and Applegreen signed a ten-year agreement in 2022 to add up to 60 new M&S Food outlets at Applegreen locations, including the opening of 15 new stores by the end of 2024.

The new outlet is one of 15 Applegreen sites where the Irish arm of food and home retailers are opening this year, and it will increase the number of outlets to 20 across Ireland.

Five outlets were opened by Applegreen and M&S in 2023, carrying a range of up to 400 products. 

Counties Louth, Meath and Limerick are welcoming the first stores, with further locations to be announced throughout the year. 

It is understood that signs for opening an outlet in Portlaoise are already up.

M&S Food at Applegreen offers Irish sandwiches, fresh fruits, salads, lunch on the go, dinner options and other popular items.

Fiona Matthews, Applegreen Ireland Managing Director, said the new outlet is “great news for Irish consumers” as it will complement the existing Applegreen offer to meet their customers’ high expectations. 

Most read in The Irish Sun

She added: “M&S is a great fit for Applegreen, as we share a focus on offering high quality products, with great customer service, provided by top class colleagues in store.

“We have been delighted by the positive customer reaction to partnership with M&S Food, which offers our customers greater choice and a wider product range. 

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“We look forward to bringing this exciting concept to up to 60 new locations and communities over the next few years,” she said when announcing the expansion.”

Applegreen employs over 16,000 people across Ireland and has further plans for growth in its major markets. 

M&S has been trading in Ireland for over 44 years, and today, it has 18 stores with 1,800 employees. 

Eddie Murphy, Country Director for Marks & Spencer Ireland and Northern Ireland, added that their primary objective with the partnership with Applegreen “is to expand the footprint” of the brand in Ireland.

He said: “We’re excited to announce the rapid expansion of this partnership following a successful pilot. 

“The addition of 15 new locations by the end of next year, and many more in the years to come, enables us to offer top quality, trusted value M&S products to a broader customer base in Ireland.”

SALES DROP

The move comes on the back of M&S announcing two closures earlier this year due to a “consistent decline in sales.”

A branch in Drogheda closed for good on March 8 – with 57 job losses.

And a second store, M&S Clarion Simply Food on Excise Walk in Dublin, also closed a few weeks later.  

Its performance was “behind the rest of our store estate,” according to M&S bosses. 

‘Ambitious plans’

Country Director Ireland & Northern Ireland Eddie Murphy said at the time: “M&S is committed to Ireland, and we have ambitious plans for growth, including doubling the number of Irish-based suppliers we work with.

“Our recent Christmas trading figures show we’re heading in the right direction.

“However, we also need to modernise our business to safeguard what we have achieved.

“Shopping habits are changing, and we are shaping our store estate to focus our investment on the right stores in the right places.

‘Tough decision’

“We have made the tough decision to close our Drogheda store because the shopping centre has low occupancy – requiring significant investment – and its sales performance is behind the rest of our store estate.

“We’ve shared this news with affected colleagues today and our priority now is to support them through these changes.

“We understand there will be some disappointment with our announcement, but we believe that this decision is the right one for the future of M&S in Ireland – allowing us to invest in our store estate, expand our Irish supply base and continue to build our partnership with Applegreen, whilst offering our customers exceptional value, quality, service and innovation.”

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