M&S plans big store shift towards weekly food shop
Marks and Spencer is planning a big shift towards food at its stores, the retailer has said.
It said it wanted to target the weekly family shop by having more stores that offer its full range of food.
At the moment, only around 12 of its stores offer all 6,500 of its food products.
The plan is to convert more space in existing stores to food, with new stores better designed and located for customers who want to do food shopping.
In a letter to suppliers, M&S said it was not getting its line of food products "in front of enough customers" - leaving shoppers assuming that they do not have a full range.
"This must change, and it will. The full range will go online with Ocado and we are starting a store renewal programme that will get more products in front of more customers with bigger, better M&S Food Halls in new and existing sites," the letter said.
The M&S new strategy was first reported by the Mail on Sunday.
The move ties in with a recent deal with Ocado, under which Ocado will offer the full M&S product line for home delivery.
When the deal was announced, critics said that M&S shoppers did not spend enough on each shop to justify an online delivery.
At the moment, M&S shoppers spend an average of £13 on each shop, while Ocado averages just over £100 per shop.
However, M&S thinks that if shoppers can access the full range of goods they are likely to buy more.
Larger shops will help to make customers aware of those products.
M&S already has a chain of convenience stores branded Simply Food.
But they are too small to stock the company's full line of food products.
A store would need to devote around 12,000 sq ft to holding the full line of M&S food products. Simply Food stores are typically around 7,000 sq ft.
Last May, the retailer announced that it would close 100 stores.
Under that plan the retailer said it wanted fewer, larger clothing and homeware stores in better locations.
In total there are 1,043 M&S stores. Of those 729 are Simply Food outlets, the other 314 are stores selling clothes and food.