M&S plans sale-and-leaseback deals on 40 high street stores

MARKS & SPENCER, the troubled stores group, is planning to sell some of its high street shops for around pounds 250 million and double its advertising spend to over pounds 20m a year in an attempt to turn round plummeting sales.

The recently installed chief executive, Peter Salsbury, is in the middle of a complete strategic review of M&S, and a sale-and-leaseback scheme to raise pounds 250m from the sale of 40 high street sites is one of the review's most popular ides so far.

Once completed, the review will be passed to the M&S board in July. Another initiative to reverse the company's fall in revenues, the appointment of marketing director James Benfield, is already bearing fruit. Mr Benfield has decided to double the group's advertising spend from its present pounds 10m- pounds 12m.

A spokeswoman for M&S admitted yesterday that the group had been "too English and reserved" in the past.

"But we've learnt our lesson," she said. "We've seen the need to get out there and blow our own trumpet. The public need to know why they should spend money with us rather than with anyone else."

In the past M&S has concentrated on advertising store openings and extensions, along with print media and TV ads in the run-up to Christmas. This will now be extended to ads in TV, radio the print media and in-store promotions, said the spokeswoman. Exactly how the money will be spent is yet to be decided.

The property move will raise most eyebrows in the City. M&S has traditionally left sale-and-leaseback schemes to other retailers like Tesco and Sainsbury's, but now it has realised the potential value of its 290 stores, which mainly inhabit prime high street sites. It also has 22 stores inside large shopping centres.

Under the plan, M&S would sell these stores to institutional landlords such as British Land, Land Securities and the Prudential. It would then lease back the stores. Stores pencilled in for sale include those in Bath, Oxford, Belfast and York, as well as the two flagship London stores at either end of Oxford Street.

The M&S spokeswoman admitted that urgent action is needed. "The strategic review is looking at every way we run ourselves, our structures, our supplier base and so on. Everything is up for discussion."

The group is bracing itself for a gruelling results announcement in May, when it is expected to reveal one of its worst-ever annual falls in profits.

M&S shares have recovered from their five-year low of 333.5p in January to 371p at close of business on Friday.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - PHP

£16500 - £16640 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing Finance compa...

Ashdown Group: Client Services Manager - Relationship Management - London

£30000 - £32000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...

Recruitment Genius: Credit Controller / Customer Service

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This rapidly expanding business...

Guru Careers: In-House / Internal Recruiter

£25 - 28k + Bonus: Guru Careers: An In-house / Internal Recruiter is needed to...

Day In a Page

Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea