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Marks & Spencer to Franchise its Hong Kong and Macau Stores

01 Sep 2017 - Retail giant Marks & Spencer is in talks to franchise out its 27-store business in Hong Kong and Macau as it continues to overhaul its worldwide presence.

The FTSE 100 retailer, which is trying to turn around its core United Kingdom business, said it was looking to expand the franchising arrangement it has with Dubai-based Al-Futtaim to include 27 stores in the Chinese territories.

The move, M&S said, was a response to the conclusions of a strategic review of its overseas business past year which proposed it operate with fewer wholly-owned markets.

The talks between M&S and Al-Futtaim includes commencing a period of due diligence, which is expected to take several months to complete.

M&S said its employees would be kept informed of any developments throughout the process and M&S stores in Hong Kong and Macau will continue to trade as normal.

Internationally, Marks & Spencer trades in 50 markets, with over 400 stores and an online presence in 25 markets.

M&S said it has started discussions with long-term franchise partner Al-Futtaim, which already operates 43 of its stores across seven markets in the Middle East, Singapore and Malaysia.

Most recently, Al-Futtaim extended the reach of M&S's chilled food to three markets, and will shortly be opening the first standalone M&S Food store in the Middle East, the statement added.

Al-Futtaim has worked with the British retailer since it opened its first Dubai store in 1998.

The British retailer has been in Hong Kong for nearly three decades and now has 27 shops in the region and Macau. The review is part of chief executive Steve Rowe's efforts to turn around the M&S' fortunes by restructuring the blue-chip retailer and reviving its underperforming clothing business.


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