British retailer Marks & Spencer (M&S) plans to open 20 new stores creating 3,400 jobs throughout Britain, The Times reported on Monday.

The 138-year old clothing and food group will open eight "full-line" stores in shopping centres such as the Bullring, Birmingham, and the Trafford Centre, Manchester, as well in as retail parks and high streets, the newspaper said.

It also will open 12 food halls, including in Stockport, Barnsley and the North Ayrshire seaside town of Largs, Scotland.

The group last November had proposed a target to reduce its full line stores

by 67 to 180 by 2028, while increasing its food only stores by 104 to 420.

Chief Executive Stuart Machin said to the newspaper that the investment in stores "fits into the levelling-up agenda, with the creation of jobs across the whole of the UK."

The openings will bring new store investment to 480 million pounds ($586.94 million), the newspaper added.

M&S reported strong Christmas sales last week, with demand for turkeys and sparkling wine delivering its highest ever share of the food market and sequin-decorated party wear boosting its clothing sales.

M&S did not immediately respond to Reuters' request for comment. ($1 = 0.8178 pounds) (Reporting by Baranjot Kaur in Bengaluru; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Diane Craft)