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M&S in talks regarding sale of Hong Kong and Macau shops to franchise partner

Marks & Spencer has opened talks with its longstanding franchise partner Al-Futtaim regarding the potential purchase and franchising of M&S’s owned retail business in Hong Kong and Macau.

DEPARTMENT STORES

M&S in talks regarding sale of Hong Kong and Macau shops to franchise partner

The move could result in Al-Futtaim becoming the new sole franchisee for M&S in Hong Kong and Macau.

Having worked with M&S since 1998 when it opened the first M&S store in Dubai, Al-Futtaim operates 43 M&S stores across seven markets in the Middle East, as well as in Singapore and Malaysia. In addition, it has extended the reach of M&S’s chilled food to three markets, and will shortly be opening the first standalone M&S Food store in the Middle East.

The discussions have arisen following M&S’s strategic review of its international business in November 2016 when M&S proposed having a greater focus on its established franchise and joint venture partnerships and operating with fewer wholly-owned markets.

The talks on the potential purchase and franchise, which includes commencing a period of due diligence, are expected to take several months to complete.

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 focusing 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.”

M&S entered Hong Kong in 1988 and now has 27 stores in Hong Kong and Macau.

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