M&S may make Al-Futtaim franchisee in Hong Kong, Macau

01 Sep '17
2 min read
Courtesy: Marks & Spencer
Courtesy: Marks & Spencer

Marks & Spencer (M&S) is in talks with its long-established franchise partner Al-Futtaim for the potential purchase and franchising of M&S’s retail business in Hong Kong and Macau. Successful conclusion to these discussions would see Al-Futtaim become the sole franchisee for M&S in Hong Kong and Macau. Al-Futtaim opened the first M&S store in Dubai in 1998.

Al-Futtaim operates 43 Marks & Spencer stores across seven markets in the Middle East, as well as in Singapore and Malaysia. Most recently Al-Futtaim has extended the reach of M&S’s popular chilled food to three markets, and will shortly be opening the first standalone M&S food store in the Middle East.

The talks follow M&S’s strategic review of its international business in November 2016, where M&S proposed to have a greater focus on its established franchise and joint venture partnerships and operate with fewer wholly-owned markets. In Hong Kong, where M&S has traded since 1988, the business is profitable, has strong brand awareness, an established store estate of 27 stores and a loyal customer base.

M&S and Al-Futtaim have now entered into discussions on the potential purchase and franchise which includes commencing a period of due diligence, which is expected to take several months to complete. M&S employees will be kept informed of any developments throughout the process and M&S stores in Hong Kong and Macau will continue to trade as normal.

Paul Friston, Marks & Spencer’s international director, said: “In November we set out our plans to create a more sustainable, profitable and customer-centric International business for M&S by focussing on our established partnerships. Al-Futtaim is a key partner to M&S in Asia and the Middle East and we are both committed to putting the customer at the heart of everything we do. With significant scale and retail expertise in the region, we are looking forward to discussing the potential extension of our partnership to Hong Kong and Macau as we continue to grow and develop our business together.”

Stephen Rayfield, senior managing director – Fashion & Lifestyle Division at Al-Futtaim said: “As long-term partners of Marks & Spencer, I’m delighted that we are now working together to explore the potential expansion of our partnership to Hong Kong and Macau.” (SV)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India

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