The company said it was altering its approach to new development, resulting in UK net new space growth reducing by 38%.
Instead there will be ‘renewed focus on existing portfolio reflected in a comprehensive Refresh programme, starting with 430 stores in 2012/13’. The Refresh programme comprises minor refitting work - ‘featuring warmer colours, better lighting, improved sightlines across the store and clearer, less functional signage’.
Some £400m has been earmarked for capital investment this year.
The company said: “Our investment plans for new property are changing - reflecting the growing importance of our online business in general merchandise, and our desire to focus on the most productive use of new capital. Whilst we will continue to expand across our range of formats, this change will reflect four priorities: maintaining investment in expanding our highly successful Express business, investing more in dotcom-only stores in densely populated areas, building out space we are committed to complete (in particular mixed-use schemes) and pursuing other new opportunities only with high return characteristics. This will mean new space added in 2012/13 will be 38% lower than in 2011/12 and capital expenditure in the UK will also reduce, despite our additional investment in existing space and online.”