Marks & Spencer is set to become the first big retailer in Britain to launch same-day and even half-day clothing nationwide deliveries that would reportedly be faster than its rivals Asos and Next.
Chief executive Steve Rowe's announcement means shoppers could get school uniforms, cocktail dresses for evening functions and lacy lingerie ordered online and delivered last-minute.
Mr Rowe told the Times the move would show how traditional 'bricks and mortar' retailers could use their stores as an advantage in online shopping as the Internet accelerates the death of the high street.
M&S has said it will close 100 of its 1,000 stores, 254 of which sell clothing and food, as it moves high street shops struggling due to lockdown measures and the growth of the Internet to retail parks.
The CEO told the newspaper: 'People think of the store portfolio as being an albatross around our neck but I don't think it is, I think we are going to have a multichannel proposition so we can be where our customers want and they can choose how quickly they want it.'Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
Retail expert Richard Hyman added: 'M&S has upped its competitive ante, the question is whether faster delivery is an advantage because their challenge is more around the relevance of its product and whether they can gain market share again after so many years of declines.'
M&S will shut dozens of stores after suffering a £201million loss for the past year as it revealed the scale of the financial hit caused by successive lockdowns with clothing and home sales falling by a third.
The move means shoppers could get school uniforms, cocktail dresses for evening functions and lacy lingerie ordered online and delivered last-minute. Pictured: Rosie Huntington-Whiteley modelling in underwear for M&S
A woman walks past a Marks & Spencer store on Oxford Street in London shortly after the first lockdown ended last July
The retailer has already closed or relocated 59 stores but said it is speeding up changes to its portfolio of shops. The 30 closures are part of a shake-up of around 110 stores and the majority of these sites set for relocation.
The group current has 254 full-line stores, which sell food and clothing, but it plans to reduce this to around 180 over the next 10 years, with some of these being replaced by food-only or purely clothing and home sites.
2020 was devastating for the UK retail industry and high street which saw the demise of Topshop and Debenhams, the permanent closure of 16,000 shops and as many as 200,000 jobs lost in the sector.Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
Clothing and home operations saw a £129.4million operating loss, although M&S said the performance improved in the second half of 2020 and sales have also returned to growth since all