M&S back in France after 10 years

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High street retailer Marks & Spencer resumed trading in France today after a decade-long absence in the country.

The UK stalwart has launched a French-language website offering more than 10,000 products across its clothing and homeware ranges.

This will be followed later in the autumn with a three-storey store in Paris on the Champs-Elysees and other shops in and around the French capital.

The website, which trades in euros and has local delivery prices across the country, is the group's first international transactional website.

M&S closed its 38 stores in continental Europe in 2001 to concentrate on turning around its UK business. It had 18 stores in France, of which 10 were in Paris.

Former boss Sir Stuart Rose said last year the decision to withdraw was a mistake, calling it "tragic".

Despite not having traded in the country for a decade, M&S still thinks the brand is held in high esteem by the French, adding that a survey of 750 consumers showed 70% recognised its brand.

Chief executive Marc Bolland said recently: "Marks & Spencer has great brand awareness in France and a place in customers' hearts."

M&S already has around 360 stores in 42 overseas territories, but the firm believes there is scope for faster growth, particularly in Asia. There are more than 700 stores in the UK.