Marks and Spencer reaffirms India growth commitments

Posted by Josette Dunn on 28th June 2010

UK retailer Marks and Spencer has reaffirmed its commitment to double its retail presence in India through its joint venture in the emerging market.The retailer currently operates 17 stores in India in conjunction with Indian-owned Reliance Retail. The firm said it plans to increase that number to more than 50 over the next three years.

The affirmation comes on the back of the opening of a larger format store in Chennai last week.

A spokesperson for Marks and Spencer told just-food on Friday (25 June) that the joint venture with Reliance Retail has allowed it to “gain better control” in India.

“In India there are lots of great opportunities but a lot of it is about relying on the space becoming available, so we do want to open stores but it’s about making sure we get the right locations, and the right shopping malls.

She added: “As well as trying to expand our presence, it’s about getting the size of the store right. So where some of our franchise stores are a little bit small, the stores we are opening now, we’re trying to build them a bit bigger so that we can offer a bigger catalogue.”

Marks and Spencer announced plans to open 50 stores in India when it formed the joint venture in 2008. The retailer said the target remains.

“There are some really positive things about business in India, in terms of local sourcing, which we’re trying to increase, which helps lower some of the prices,” the spokesperson said.

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