M&S rolling out new convenience stores

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The Independent Online

Marks & Spencer is to roll out its Simply Food convenience store format after the strong performances at the first two stores, in Surbiton and Twickenham.

M&S is committed to opening at least 10 more sites in the next year with the possibility of a chain of 50 to 100 stores. "The first two have traded sufficiently strongly that we are taking it to the next level," says Roger Holmes, managing director of UK Retail at M&S.

Most of the stores will be on town centre high streets though others are expected to open at railway stations to serve busy commuters. Simply Food branches are small stores offering ready meals, beer and wine, newspapers and magazines and takeaway coffee.

In an interview with The Independent Mr Holmes also said M&S would introduce more "sub-brands", like the George Davies-designed Per Una collection.

The other area of M&S earmarked for expansion is home furnishings. Mr Holmes did not rule out stand-alone home furnishing stores but said the priority is to stabilise the core UK business where the focus remains the clothing offer.