M&S postpones move into Australia

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The Independent Online
MARKS & SPENCER has decided to postpone its expansion into Australia just seven months after the retailer announced plans to open branches in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne.

M&S blamed the decision on the weakening of the Australian dollar and "unstable economic conditions affecting Asian economies".

Paul D Smith, chief executive of M&S in Asia-Pacific, said: "We have concluded that opening Marks & Spencer stores in Australia under the current economic conditions is no longer viable." He said one of the reasons for the decision was the rise in the cost of imported merchandise caused by the weakening currency which would have led to higher selling prices.

However, M&S said it still intended to open stores in Australia when economic conditions are better. "We remain confident of the long-term potential of the Australian market and we will be monitoring the situation to decide on a suitable time. This decision represents a review of timing only ... Australia is still very much part of Marks & Spencer's strategy for Asia," Mr Smith said

Marks &Spencer had intended to open the stores in a link-up with Just Jeans, a local company that runs 500 outlets.

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