Marks and Spencer (M&S) has cut back on the number of convenience stores it plans to open in 2018.

The announcement that 15 fewer Simply Food stores will now open comes as the company announces wider plans to close existing 100 M&S stores in the next four years.

The convenience cuts mean 25 small format food stores will open this year, compared to the 40 previously planned.

Of the 100 M&S store closures, 36 locations have been announced with the sites of the further 64 stores yet to be revealed. 

M&S has nearly 600 Simply Food stores, the majority ran by its five UK franchise partners – BP (252 stores),  Moto (46 stores), SSP (60 stores), WHSmith (14 stores) and Compass Group (11 stores). This comes despite M&S Simply Food being one of the public's most respected convenience fascias.

M&S operations director Sacha Berendji said: “Closing stores isn’t easy but it is vital for the future of M&S.”

The news that 872 staff are at risk of redundancy comes a day before the retailer is expected to announce pre-tax profits of approximately £573m.

The closures, planned to “make M&S special again”, come as the company announces a decrease in sales and profits in food, clothing and home product categories.

Read More: What independent stores can learn from M&S' Simply Food expansion issues

Full list of announced store closures:

Bayswater, Clacton-on-Sea, Darlington, East Kilbride, Falkirk, Fleetwood, Holloway Road, 
Kettering, Newton Abbot, Newmarket, New Mersey Speke, Northampton, Stockton and Walsall.

Already closed:

Andover, Basildon, Birkenhead, Bournemouth, Bridlington, Covent Garden, Denton, Dover, 
Durham, Fareham, Fforestfach, Keighley, Portsmouth, Putney, Redditch, Slough, Stockport, 
Warrington, Wokingham, Greenock, Newry and Crewe.