Marks and Spencer has announced a plan to shut about 30 stores in the UK, putting 14 shops in and around south London at risk.

In the next five years clothing departments will be shut in 60 stores, with 45 shops to be downsized or converted into Simply Food outlets.

The move follows a plunge in profits for the retailer as it reported an 88.4 per cent fall in pre-tax profit from £216m to £25.1 million in the six months to the end of September.

Chief executive Steve Rowe said the retailer is planning to close 53 stores across 10 international markets putting around 2,100 jobs at risk but did not reveal which UK stores or jobs would be affected.

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Mr Rowe, who began his M&S career as a weekend worker in Croydon in the 1980s, said: “In May, we laid out a number of questions which we would answer as part of our strategic review.

“We are committed to creating a simpler business with customers at its heart, and taking action to start to recover our clothing and home business and continue to grow in food.

“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.”

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The M&S stores that could be under threat include: Bromley, Bexleyheath, Bluewater, Croydon, Eltham, Epsom, Kingston, Kew, Lewisham, Merton, Putney, Richmond, St Mary Cray and Sutton.