The clothing and food store will axe most of the positions from shop floors, but several hundred jobs are expected to be cut from its head office and support sectors.
M&S made the decision after reportedly experiencing its worst Christmas trading performance in more than 80 years.
Underlying sales in clothing and home-related categories reportedly fell by between 6% and 10%.
It is expected M&S will announce the cuts tomorrow in a trading update.
Retailers Debenhams and Next today revealed their trading performances over the festive season. Next's like-for-like sales dropped 7% in the six months to Christmas Eve and Debenhams' like-for-life sales for the past 12 weeks have fallen 3.6%.
The news comes as children's clothing chain Adams shut 111 stores, with the loss of 850 jobs. Passion for Perfume also shut its 46 branches, ending the employment of 185 staff.
Separately, Waterford Wedgewood, the china and glassware company, went into receivership yesterday, threatening almost 2,000 jobs in the UK.
Banks called in administrators after talks failed to rescue the company.
The remaining 197 Woolworths stores still open yesterday will close for good at the end of trading today, taking total job losses at the 100-year-old high street chain to 27,000.