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High street retailer Marks and Spencer has confirmed that it plans to reduce its Clothing & Home space with 60 fewer stores in over five years.

Announced in its latest half year trading update for the 26 weeks ended 1 October 2016, M&S revealed that underlying profits were down, as expected, by 18.6% to £231.3m, largely due to lower Clothing & Home sales.

Within the Clothing & Home sector, sales fell by 5.3%, adding to its previous reductions of 8.3% in Q1 and 2.4% in Q2, with half year like-for-like sales down by 5.9%.

In overall terms, M&S saw group revenue remain flat at £4.9bn, with like-for-like sales up by 0.9%.

M&S revealed that it plans to downsize its Clothing & Home estate by 10%, including 30 full line closures and replacing around 45 more into Simply Food stores, with the view to rebalancing its C&H estate to offer ‘improved quality’.

Steve Rowe, M&S CEO, said: “We have made good progress on our plans and customers are already noticing a difference, particularly in Clothing & Home.

“Over the next five years we will transform our UK estate with c.60 fewer Clothing & Home stores, whilst continuing to increase the number of our Simply Food stores. Internationally, we propose to cease trading in 10 loss making owned markets, but intend to continue to develop our presence through our strong franchise partners.

“These are tough decisions, but vital to building a future M&S that is simpler, more relevant, multi-channel and focused on delivering sustainable returns.”