Norway and Finland are about to become the next countries to open M&S outlets.
Marks and Spencer (M&S) has been one of the UK’s most recognisable brands for decades, and it is using that legacy to fuel expansion into new markets overseas. The classic British retailer is about to launch into another promising European market as is plans to open stores in the Nordic countries.
On top of its 160 outlets in Europe, the company is pushing towards its target of having 250 overseas stores by 2016 by setting up 15 new stores in Norway and Finland as part of a franchise agreement. A flagship clothing and food shop in Helsinki will open next month, followed by its counterpart in Oslo in November.
Finnish retailer S Group will be running the stores through the franchise, building on its experience from running 1,600 stores in the region, alongside Pocos Group.
That fits with M&S’ stated intentions of running roughly 60 per cent of stores outside the UK through franchise partnerships.
It comes as part of a huge wave of global expansion for the company, which has not performed quite as well as might have been expected in the UK in recent years. It’s been well documented that while the food category is doing well, other areas such as clothing have not been able to keep up.
So it makes sense that the firm is seeking growth in other markets. That has been one of the main focuses of chief executive Marc Bolland, who has been pushing for more overseas and multichannel growth since he took the reins at the retailer in 2010.
“Expanding our reach to Scandinavia, which we see as an important international market for us, is a central part of our ongoing international growth strategy in Europe and we are delighted to be opening our first stores in the region over the next few months,” said Francois Smeyers, Europe regional director at M&S.
Some 30 Simply Food stores are being opened in France already to add to the major outlet on Paris’ Champs-Élysées.
What’s more, a store opened in The Hague earlier this year and the Guardian reports that M&S is committed to opening a store in Brussels in 2015. Milan, Madrid and Barcelona are all reportedly seen as prospective locations as well.
Add into that the fresh wave of investment it has been putting into the Asian market recently and this is a truly international operation. The first M&S store opened in Vietnam just a few weeks ago. It seems the classic British brand is committed to going global.
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