HUNDREDS of jobs are at risk as the coronavirus crisis takes its toll on a major high street stalwart with stores in York.

M&S has announced proposals to move to 'a leaner, faster retail management structure', which would affect 950 store management and head office jobs.

At its full year results in May, M&S outlined plans to accelerate the pace and scale of the plan and make three years' progress in one, including more flexible management structures.

M&S which has stores in York city centre and at Vangarde is now proposing to bring in these changes. It is not yet clear how York's stores will be affected.

M&S's food stores, including in York, were open during the lockdown, but other parts of the business have been hit by the period, with clothing sales down by 84% year-on-year at the lowest point.

They aim to reduce management layers, providing clearer leadership accountabilities and freeing up its retail teams to focus more on the customer.

Through better use of technology and insight, store management roles would be more focused on the customer and have more time on the shop floor.

The retailer said the proposed changes would affect 950 roles across central support functions in field and central operations and property and store management.

M&S has started collective consultation with its employee representative group and has set out its intention to first offer voluntary redundancy to affected colleagues.

Sacha Berendji, director of retail, operations and property at M&S said: “Our proposals reflect an important next step in our Never the Same Again programme to accelerate our transformation and become a stronger, leaner and more resilient business.

"Through the crisis we have seen how we can work faster and more flexibly by empowering store teams and it's essential that we embed that way of working. Our priority now is to support all those affected through the consultation process and beyond.”

Under the new structure, each store manager would have full accountability in driving stand-out customer service, leading a high performing team and ensuring the standards of their store.