M&S plans food store expansion in UK and France
Published:  24 October, 2013

Upmarket food retailer Marks & Spencer (M&S) has announced it will be opening 150 new franchised and UK-owned M&S Simply Food stores in the next three years.

The company announced its move yesterday in a statement that revealed it was going to carry out a “significant expansion of its M&S Simply Food store network in the UK”, as well as a new franchise partnership with Relay France. M&S also said plans to increase its Simply Food portfolio were targeted at reducing the time it takes customers to get to an M&S Food store.

Around half of the new stores will be operated by the retailer’s existing franchise partners in service areas, airports, hospitals and petrol stations, while the other new stores will be owned by M&S and will be opened on high streets and retail parks across the UK, creating more than 5,000 new retail jobs.

Chief executive Marc Bolland said: “Our food business has gone from strength to strength under our plans to transform M&S. We’ve delivered 15 quarters of like-for-like growth in the UK and have opened M&S Food stores in cities like Amsterdam and Paris. We’re delighted to be partnering with Relay France to drive our international ambition even further.”

French partnership

Meanwhile, M&S’ new partnership with Relay France will see the opening of around 10 new M&S Food stores in and around Paris by 2018, the first of which will start trading next summer.

Paris is not the only overseas location where M&S Food is planning to launch, however; this autumn the company and BP opened four M&S Food store pilots in the Netherlands.

Yet the French stores will provide more of an offering, providing customers with up to 2,500 fresh food products alongside its Relay France partner, which operates a chain of newspaper, magazine, book and convenience stores across 850 locations in railway stations, airports, metro stations and hospitals.

Executive director of food at M&S Steve Rowe said: “Over the last three years we have reinforced M&S’ everyday specialist food market position through exceptional quality food, groundbreaking innovative products, and unrivalled ethics.” 

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