Marks and Spencer Chief Executive Marc Bolland’s announcement that the retailer is planning to expand its French footprint with 20 stand-alone Food stores, saw shares rise 2.2% to 469.90p at the close yesterday. At an Investor Seminar in Paris, he announced an ambitious plan to drive international growth by opening 250 new stores in Western Europe, India, China, Russia and the Middle East.
Bolland said: “We are focusing on Flagship stores to deliver brand presence and stand-out. We also see great opportunities in fresh Food and Lingerie and Beauty concepts.”
The plans for Paris would make France it’s largest food market outside the UK. M&S hopes that the expansion will bring relief from the pain it has suffered in the over saturated UK market.
A new franchise partnership with SFH Invest will see three new on-street stores, trading from c.300 square metres, open this summer.
Renowned for quality, affordable lingerie and beauty, it has also lined up 20 sites for expansion in emerging markets.
The company will also expand internationally with a ‘bricks and clicks’ approach by establishing flagship stores in key cities, supported M&S Food stores and a full online offer. It has recently revamped its website.
M&S’s International arm made profits of £120 million on sales of £1.1 billion last year. The new French Food stores will offer customers convenient access to a range of up to 2500 exceptional quality, fresh M&S products.