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M&S to close 53 stores worldwide, including Brussels
Barely 1.5 years after returning to Belgium, the UK department store Marks & Spencer will again close the doors on its only Belgian shop, located in Brussels' Avenue de la Toison d'Or, the company announced today. Marks & Spencer Belgium employs 126 people.
"We are proposing to close all of our 53 wholly-owned stores in these 10 markets, including 10 in China and seven in France, as well as all of our stores in Belgium, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania and Slovakia. We are therefore today starting consultation with c.2,100 employees about our proposals," reads the press release sent out this morning by Marks & Spencer.
The opening of the Brussels store in May 2015, after 15 years of absence in the European capital, was met with long queues of enthusiastic shoppers. But 18 months later, Marks & Spencer will again close the store. "The shop in Brussels never quite met our expectations, and the market offers few opportunities for growth," Amanda Mellor, director of Marks & Spencer Belgium, explained to the press.
Mellor's statement is confirmed in the official figures, with M&S suffering major financial losses in 2015 and 2016, mainly due to high operating costs and a sales decline of 24% compared to last year. There is little prospect of growth in a difficult market, the British fashion and food chain concluded.