Britain's M&S plans smaller store on flagship London site

FILE PHOTO: A Marks and Spencer (M&S) logo outside of a store in Cheshire, Britain August 18, 2020. REUTERS/Jason Cairnduff

LONDON (Reuters) - British retailer Marks & Spencer has proposed a redevelopment of its flagship Marble Arch store in central London that would see the upper levels of the building made into office space, it said on Tuesday.

Under the proposals, which M&S is seeking to consult with local stakeholders on, it would develop a smaller modernised full-line store on a site it has occupied since 1930.

M&S, which sells food, clothing and homewares, currently trades from 160,000 square feet at Marble Arch across five floors.

The proposals would see the building redeveloped into nine floors, with the lower two levels focused on retail and the upper levels made into “Prime Grade A office space”.

There would also be a new landscaped public area, including pedestrian routes through the site and a pocket-park.

M&S will submit its planning application later this year.

“The plans are part of M&S’ ‘Never the Same Again’ programme, under which it has been shifting gears in creating a store estate fit for the future,” it said.

The group has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic as lockdowns have shuttered most of its clothing space.

Reporting by James Davey, Editing by Paul Sandle