M&S Plans To Take Food Stores To Paris
Retail giant Marks & Spencer has revealed plans to open 250 stores outside the UK, including 100 outlets in India and dozens of food stores in France.
The announcement comes as the firm seeks to boost profit amid struggles in its British home market.
Chief executive Marc Bolland said it would target India, China, Russia, the Middle East and western Europe.
Mr Bolland said: "Our strategy of becoming an international, multichannel retailer is more relevant than ever before because of the strong growth potential.
"We are focusing on flagship stores to deliver brand presence."
The move comes as falling profits for its non-food lines in the UK see M&S struggling. A trading update next week is expected to show another decline in general merchandise - which includes fashion and homeware.
The expansion programme is expected to take three years and forecast to grow profits by as much as 40%, it said.
The plan focuses on expansion through its food sector and includes its franchise partnerships.
It also includes 20 convenience food outlets in Paris, making the French capital its largest food market outside of the UK.
Three of the 300 to 700 square-metre stores will open under a partnership arrangement in the summer and the rest over two years.
The company's executive director of food Steve Rowe said: "We're putting M&S Food on the map over the next five years.
"Western Europe is our focus and finding the right partners and locations is vital to the success of our plan to have the optimal food store portfolio in this time."
The company's Middle East expansion is also set to continue with lingerie and beauty, a concept it would also pursue in India.
Like rival Tesco, M&S has acknowledged the difficulty of expanding in China without utilising a local partner familiar with market conditions.
Its reliance on partnerships and franchises for the new foreign push, revealed at an investor conference in Paris, hints that the UK high street icon is attempting to reduce risk in its ambitious global vision.