Marks & Spencer to open stores in Germany

BY NIGEL COPE

Marks & Spencer is to develop a chain of stores in Germany and is investigating the possibility of expanding into China.

The group is also considering opportunities in Italy but has decided against an assault on the Japanese market. M&S said yesterday that the first German store was likely to be in Hamburg, with others planned for big cities, including those in the former East Germany.

"We've researched the market carefully and believe there is room for our mix of quality, value and service," a spokesman said.

The company has been operating stores in France and Belgium for nearly 20 years. It also has stores in Spain, the Netherlands, Hong Kong and Canada, where it has 49 outlets.

M&S has some representation in the former Eastern bloc, with franchise stores in Budapest and Prague.

Keith Oates, M&S deputy chairman, said: "Development will follow the step by step formula which has been so successful for us in other countries. The only constraint will be our ability to secure prime sites at the right prices."

Finding retail sites in Germany is notoriously difficult and very few British store groups have traded successfully there. Laura Ashley has some German outlets and Biba, the fashion chain, traded with some success during the 1980s. Yesterday Sears, the Selfridges and Freemans catalogue group, pulled out of the German market after sustaining long-term losses in a shoe shop joint venture.

Robert Snaife, retail analyst at Socit Gnrale Strauss Turnbull, said: "Germany is a difficult market and it can take a long time to break through. But Marks & Spencer has the resources to play a long game."

M&S has proved successful on the Continent, where its stores yielded a profit of £27m on sales of £247m last year.

In the Far East, M&S has submitted an application to establish an office in Shanghai which will monitor the Chinese market and open discussions with government and local businesses.

M&S has had a team of managers looking at the Japanese market. Yesterday it said it had decided not to go ahead with stores there but did not rule out Japanese stores in the future.

Sears yesterday sold its share in its German shoe shop joint venture, Sears Andre Retail Group, to its French partner, Group Andre. In return Sears is buying from Group Andre the half of the Benelux joint venture it does not already own.

Sears said the German shops had been loss-making for some time but the Benelux shops, which trade under the Dolcis, Manfield and Invito names, made profits of £5m last year.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Sales Assistant / Buyer

£15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company offers a range of ...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisors are r...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: SThree were established in 1986....

Recruitment Genius: Compliance Manager

£40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Compliance Manager is require...

Day In a Page

Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate