Finance

Marks & Spencer to close a number of France shops by the end of 2021


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etailer Marks & Spencer has announced the planned closure of 11 franchise stores in France, following supply chain complexities since Brexit.

The company, led by Steve Rowe, said the franchise stores with partner SFH are predominantly across the high streets of Paris. They are expected to close by the end of the year.

Marks & Spencer said: “As outlined at our full year results in May this year, the lengthy and complex export processes now in place following the UK’s exit from the European Union are significantly constraining the supply of fresh and chilled product from the UK into Europe and continuing to impact product availability for customers and the performance of our business in France.”

At the start of the year the company also said the Brexit trade deal was set to “significantly impact” its EU stores’ sales as highly complex paperwork throws delays into its system.

The retailer’s nine franchise stores with partner Lagardere Travel Retail continue to trade and both parties continue to work closely on a sustainable future business model. Those sites are in travel hubs such as train stations and airports.

The update marks the latest change to the structure of Marks & Spencer’s European businesses following the UK’s exit from the EU.

In April it announced the reconfiguration of its food business in Czech Republic, removing the sale of all fresh and chilled products from stores, and instead doubling our ranges of frozen and ambient products.

The group’s managing director of international, Paul Friston said: “M&S has a long history of serving customers in France and this is not a decision we or our partner SFH have taken lightly. However, as things stand today, the supply chain complexities in place following the UK’s exit from the European Union, now make it near impossible for us to serve fresh and chilled products to customers to the high standards they expect, resulting in an ongoing impact to the performance of our business.”

The chain’s website in France, which is run by M&S and sells mostly clothing and home products, is not impacted.

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