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Marks and Spencer with shift of strategy in China
According to WSJ Wall Street Journal British retailer Marks and Spencer is changing its growth strategy in China, culling stores around Shanghai, while planning to set up shop in Beijing and Guangzhou later in 2015
Around 60 people are expected to be laid off as part of store closures and changes at the U.K. food and clothing retailer’s China head office in Shanghai and Bruce Findlay, M&S’s regional director for Asia, is leaving the company to pursue a new role.
The group has 15 shops in Shanghai, but no other presence elsewhere in China. Following the closure of five stores by August in what the company characterised as second-tier cities around Shanghai, M&S will have six store in Shanghai itself and four in surrounding cities. The company has been present in China since 2008.
In Hong Kong, the company will open more stand-alone food stores over this and next year. Growth at M&S’s food business has increasingly outstripped that at its clothing business. The retailer will modernise stores in Hong Kong, as well as one of its two flagship stores in Shanghai, installing new layouts, among other changes. M&S currently has 18 stores in Hong Kong and one in Macau.
On March 2, 2015 the company stated it is evaluating potential local partners in the region. M&S is aiming at building its brand across China through a Web presence. In January, it launched a children’s clothing store on Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s foreign brand focused shopping platform TMall.com, on which it has been selling men’s and women’s wear since 2012.
M&S currently has 480 international stores across Europe, the Middle East and Asia. In January the company reported that its international sales fell 5.8 % in the third quarter reasoning “Worsening currency and macroeconomic issues across the Middle East and Russia.”