High street retailer Marks and Spencer (M&S) is to return to the Netherlands with a bricks & clicks strategy as it continues its bid to become a leading international, multichannel retailer, it has been announced.
Yesterday, the retailer opened a “world class multichannel” store in Amsterdam‘s shopping district Kalverstraat, featuring world first technology aimed at enhancing the customer experience.
As well as its food offer, shoppers at the new store will be able to browse M&S‘ ‘virtual rail‘ offering the latest in ‘London style‘ at its new E-boutique.
Laura Wade-Gery, Executive Director of e-Commerce Multichannel at M&S, said: “The Netherlands has embraced online shopping – customers adore the ease and convenience of buying clothes this way, which is why we were determined to return with our very latest multi-channel thinking.
“The E-boutique demonstrates just that – it‘s innovative, aspirational and allows us to offer our latest fashion collections from a much smaller footprint.”
M&S also launched a mobile-optimised site yesterday to compliment its brand new Dutch website offering local delivery and payment options, as well as an extensive range of womenswear, menswear as well as a selection of homewares.
Later this year, the retailer will pilot its first international M&S Simply Food store at a BP forecourt in Utrecht with a view to a further roll-out in and around the Netherlands by November 2013.
M&S and BP initially partnered in the UK in 2005 and there are now over 160 Simply Food stores at BP forecourts across the country and this latest move is part of plans to open franchises across Western Europe in the coming years.
Two new full-line M&S stores are also set to open in the Netherlands, with a 4,800 sq m store opening in the De Markies centre in The Hague and a 6,100 sq m store in The Rokin Amsterdam in Autumn 2015.
M&S CEO Marc Bolland welcomed the move, commenting: “We‘re extremely happy to be coming back to Holland in response to huge customer demand.
“We‘re coming back in a new way because Holland is one of the most internet savvy countries in Europe.
“We are therefore launching our new website and a brand new e-Boutique as a first step towards rolling out a number of stores in the Netherlands.”