Marks & Spencer to close UK and international stores – reports

UK retail giant Marks & Spencer is likely to announce several dozen store closures at home and more abroad when it delivers its half-year figures on Tuesday (November 8), according to reports.

The company is working on a turnaround plan under new CEO Steve Rowe and it is widely expected that it will rationalise its extensive store portfolio globally.There have also been reports that its struggling clothing ranges will be pulled out of some UK locations in order to give space to its more buoyant foods offer.

On Friday Bloomberg cited unnamed sources close to the matter saying that the will also close its Chinese stores, as well as a number of French locations.

The company has 468 stores outside its domestic market, almost 200 of them directly operated and these owned stores saw a high-double-digits profits slump in the last financial year. Steve Rowe is believed to favour a franchise model for non-UK ops, reports said.

While China and France are expected to bear the brunt of the closure plans, other countries will also be included.

M&S currently has nine Chinese stores and 14 in France but China has proved a difficult market for some Western firms to crack. Several big-box and luxury names have announced closures, consolidation or alternative routes to the market such as partnerships with local companies.

M&S opened its first Chinese store in Shanghai in 2008 but later closed several smaller locations.

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