Marks & Spencer Announces Cost-Cutting Moves

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New York City Britain's Marks & Spencer Group PLC said Wednesday it will cut 1,230 jobs and close 27 of its stores in a drive to reduce costs as the retail sector continues to struggle.

The company had its worst quarterly revenue drop in a decade, with sales falling by 7.1% in the quarter ending Dec. 27.

Chairman Stuart Rose said in a statement he expected "challenging" economic conditions to continue for at least the next 12 months. He said the job cuts and closures, along with pension-plan changes, will help the company reduce costs by as much as 200 million pounds ($297 million) in 2009 and 2010 and help "maintain the strength of our business."

The job cuts include 450 head-office employees and 780 staff members in 25 "underperforming" food-only shops. Two of the retailer's smaller department stores will also face redundancies.

Marks & Spencer has about 70,000 employees and more than 600 stores in Britain. There are nearly 300 international locations in 40 different countries.

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