Speculation grows on Marks & Spencer bank launch plans


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The Independent Online

Speculation was growing today that Marks & Spencer is planning to shake up the financial services industry by launching a chain of bank branches.

The outlets would be located in stores and follow the same opening hours, including Saturdays and Sundays, according to Retail Week.

Mortgages are expected to be included among the services on offer and the first branch is set to open next month at the retailer's flagship Marble Arch store, with 20 more branches in the pipeline, the magazine reported.

M&S is thought to have joined forces with HSBC for the reported venture.

Other retailers such as supermarket giant Tesco have already branched out into offering financial services alongside the weekly shop.

Marks & Spencer's financial services arm, M&S Money, made a £50 million profit last year and offers services such as credit cards, travel money, personal loans, car insurance and savings accounts. M&S Money is a joint venture with HSBC.

Marks & Spencer could make the most of its trusted status in an industry which has had a poor image among consumers, Retail Week suggested.

No-one from Marks & Spencer was available to comment.