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M&S to expand Simply Food format in Europe


High street stalwart Marks & Spencer (M&S) is to offer its Simply Food range in Paris and other European cities as it maintains its focus on international expansion, it has been announced.

At an investor’s meeting in Istanbul, Turkey, M&S CEO Marc Bolland explained that the retailer is set to roll out the format in “one or two” other European countries after recording strong sales in its stores in the French capital.

“What we are saying is we are looking at taking the Simply Food concept to Paris and teaming up with a partner to launch it in one or two other countries,” Bolland said.

“But because the food is being delivered fresh every day from the UK the locations would all need to be close enough for same-day deliveries by our trucks.”

British staples such as biscuits, jams and ready meals all sold well to Parisien consumers as foreign appreciation for traditional English fare continues to build.

Last month, British retailer Cath Kidston expanded into Asia and is set to open a number of stores in the region in the year ahead, with Cath Kidston CEO explaining to Retail Gazette that “the quintessential British nature of the brand” is driving sales among international shoppers.

M&S has set its sights on bricks & mortar expansion in India, with plans to open 50 stores within secondary cities over the next three years, taking its total in the country to 80.

Hong Kong and the greater Shanghai region are also areas of growth for the retailer, with plans to open around 20 stores in each region by 2015/16, investors were told.

However, last week it emerged that M&S’ Chinese operations are missing sales targets by 30 per cent, causing concern over further growth plans and Bolland conceded that China is “a fantastic market, but it is also a difficult market.”

Nonetheless, the retailer is keen to adopt a multichannel approach to market expansion, having launched websites in five European countries in 2012, following the successful launch of the French site a year earlier.

Published on Wednesday 06 February by Editorial Assistant

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