Marks and Spencer has opened its first store in Beijing.
In 2014 the high street stalwart earmarked China, Russia, India, the Middle East and Western Europe for international expansion. Chief Exec Marc Bolland cited plans to open 250 new stores overseas in three years. The aim was to boost international sales by a quarter and increase profit up by 40%.
Patrick Bousquet-Chavanne, M&S’s Executive Director of Marketing & International, told Reuters the company was still committed to both Russia and China but that those overseas targets were now unattainable. The plans changed.
“We’re looking at places which are very much ‘tier 1’… where you have an upper middle class consumer base… where we will do well even in the context of a slowdown in the economy,” Bousquet-Chavanne said in September.
The new store in Beijing follows a change in company policy which outlines the closure of stores in ‘secondary cities’ across China, and a focus on flagship stores in major cities instead.
The 1,500 sq m store opened at The Place shopping centre, and will sell selected food and drink as well as M&S clothing.
Although this will be its first venture into Beijing, M&S has 10 stores in the Shanghai region and 20 in Hong Kong. Its empire covers over 1,300 stores, 852 of which are in the UK.