Marks & Spencer a nnounced the first major shake-up of its store portfolio for almost a decade yesterday as it seeks to build on recent successes.
The retailer, which completed the revamp of its Birmingham city centre store last year, said it plans to increase its trading space in the UK by as much as a fifth over the next five years.
The group at present has 507 stores in the UK, and has already modernised a third of its older sites, which chief executive Stuart Rose said "delivered strong returns" in the first half of the year.
Mr Rose said: "We have one of the strongest and most recognised brands in the UK, which needs a powerful showcase."
He pledged another £800 million of investment over the next year to update another third by Christmas, 2007.
No list has been revealed about which stores will be the subject of modernisation and which will see major redevelopment work, which includes the expansion of the site.
A spokeswoman for M&S said 35 per cent of the company's estate would be modernised by the end of 2006, and 70 per cent by the end of 2007.
Capital expenditure will be increased from £520 million to £750 to £850 million to pay for the overhaul.
Within this £120 million will be earmarked for modernisation, £50 million on major store developments and £60 million on more Simply Food Stores.
"This is something that our customers have been asking for," said a company spokeswoman. "The shopping experience will be much nicer for customers."
M&S has reassured customers that old stores will not be closed until the new ones have opened.
M&S has 78 "major" city-centre stores and a further 200 on the high street in the UK. It also has 16 outlets in retail parks and a further 27 out of town.