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As a barometer of the state of the UK high street, you can’t do much better than its largest apparel retailer Marks & Spencer, which this week unveiled weak annual results, and has announced that it will not now open any new general merchandise stores in the country. With 766 stores across the UK it believes it has reached “saturation point”, and will instead focus on developing its e-commerce capabilities, supported by the recently opened national distribution centre, as well as its smaller food-only stores. “M& is our new flagship store. Marble Arch [in London] is not the flagship store anymore,” said chief executive Marc Bolland.

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