The boss of Marks and Spencer has reignited fears over the future of the chain's stores in Cumbria.

Chief executive Steve Rowe said its portfolio of legacy stores was "holding it back" as he spoke to shareholders at the company's annual general meeting this week.

He added that the company's current plans to shut 110 stores across the country are "not finite" - leaving open the possibility of more store closures in the future.

Currently, Marks and Spencer have a range of food and clothing stores in Carlisle, Gretna, Penrith, Workington, Kendal and Barrow. The doors are set to close on the Barrow store in next spring 2020 when a new M&S foodhall opens up in nearby Ulverston.

Chairman Archie Norman said it is now paying the price for "not shutting stores 10 or 20 years ago".

The company is in the midst of a major overhaul, which includes plans to close 85 full-line stores and about 25 Simply Food outlets as it looks to return to sustainable profit growth.

The chairman said the restructuring would stabilise the firm as it looks to direct resources elsewhere in the business, including online growth, as it seeks to double the size of its food business.

Mr Rowe said the company is on the right track but needs to iron out "wobbles" in its business, which included selling out of popular jeans and "some of the worst availability I'd seen in 30 years" earlier this year. 

He said M&S is on target to meet its £350 million savings targets through axing "old-fashioned stores".

Mr Norman added the company would speak to store staff more as part of the company's attempts to deliver future growth.

He said: "Somewhere along the line, the organisation we inherited became slow, unaccountable and lost the voice of the stores.

"If we hear the voice of the stores, we will grow."

The retailer's board received a broadly positive reception from shareholders, who appeared to largely back its transformation plans.

Nevertheless, it received criticism from one shareholder over the company's decision to reduce its dividend and its recent decline in share price.

Mr Norman responded: "I've always said this is a five-year programme and the most important thing is to get on with the job and hopefully in years to come we will get back to paying an increased dividend."