Marks & Spencer Opens In-Store Bank Branches
Marks & Spencer has confirmed it will launch a chain of in-store bank branches.
The project is backed by Europe's biggest bank, HSBC, and the first branch is set to open next month at the retailer's flagship store in Marble Arch.
The group has said a total of 50 M&S Bank branches will open across the UK over the next two years.
The outlets will be located in stores and follow the same opening hours, including Saturdays and Sundays.
Current accounts will be made available from this autumn and customers can pre-register their interest in July.
The company, which expects to create 500 UK jobs from the roll-out of the M&S Bank business, said mortgages will be offered at a later date.
M&S said in a statement: "Branches will be open twice as long as traditional high street banks; mirroring M&S store opening hours and enabling customers to bank while they shop, seven days a week."
The retailer ventured into personal finance in 1985, and already offers limited financial services through M&S Money.
Last year, M&S Money, which offers services such as credit cards, travel money, personal loans, car insurance and savings accounts, made a £50m profit.
Rival British retailers Tesco and Sainsbury's have also moved into banking in recent years although Tesco said in February it had delayed the launch of a current account service until next year.
Colin Kersley, chief executive of the new M&S Bank, told Sky News: "We're not trying to compete with the big guys; we're trying to look after M&S customers.
"It's a natural extension of our business, it was a natural evolution for M&S money to go into M&S bank."
HSBC described the venture with M&S as its most "significant innovation" in UK retail banking since it launched First Direct more than 22 years ago.