M&S sells 27 Hong Kong stores to Al-Futtaim

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Al-Futtaim

Marks & Spencer has offloaded its 27-store Hong Kong business to its long-time franchise partner Al-Futtaim.

In continuing efforts to consolidate its international portfolio, M&S has handed over control of its Hong Kong and Macau estates after its initial launch there in 1998.

Al-Futtaim, which already controls 72 of the grocer’s franchises in seven markets including Singapore, the Middle East and Malaysia and has worked with the retailer since 1998, will now be responsible for helping “develop and grow” the business in the Asian market.

“We have substantially reshaped our international business, which has improved profitability and positioned us for growth,” international director Paul Friston said.

“As one of the world’s leading retail operators, with strong logistics capabilities and local expertise, Al-Futtaim is the ideal partner for us to develop and grow our business in Hong Kong and Macau.”

The consolidation efforts come at a tough time for the retailer, which has seen sales in its clothing arm dive over the last year.

In November it announced that efforts to close underperforming stores would be accelerated. A month later it was reported to be having second thoughts about 60 new store openings it currently has planned, while its profits slumped 5.3 per cent during its most recent results.

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