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UK retailer Marks and Spencer has announced plans to open 36 new British stores over the next six months but will close six sites in plans it says will create 1,400 new jobs.

Of the new openings, 34 will be food-only shops in locations such as the city of London, central Manchester and Strood in Kent, with two larger clothing and home stores also planned by July.

M&S has also entered consultations over closing six stores and will “guarantee” staff will be re-hired at nearby sites. The planned closures are in Portsmouth, Slough, Warrington, Wokingham, Monk’s Cross and Worksop, the company said in a store update on Thursday.

Steve Rowe, chief executive, said the shake-up would mean “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”, added Mr Rowe.

“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.”

The company has 959 stores in the UK, 615 of which are food only.

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