India is currently one of M&S ‘priority international markets’ and one of the fastest growing retailer markets in Asia. M&S is looking to double its presence in India and hopes that its partnership with Reliance Retail will help the country become its biggest international market, with the largest number of retail stores, outside of the UK. The company will be looking to expand in key secondary-tier cities like Kanpur and Surat, as well as capitalizing on the potential growth in beauty and lingerie sectors in the Indian market.
M&S ready for Indian expasion
Bolland, who is in Mumbai for the debut of M&S first Lingerie & Beauty department, which will sell M&S makeup for the first time in India said, “India is a priority market for M&S and working closely together with our partner Reliance Retail we have set a clear plan to build a leadership position here. As the nation’s leading retailer operator, Reliance Retail is the perfect partner for us in India with extensive local expertise and experience, with strengths in infrastructure, logistics, technology and property.
He added, “This combined with M&S’s brand loyalty and exceptional quality, stylish products, has seen us continue to deliver strong double digit growth in India. Now with 36 stores, we have the ideal platform to accelerate our growth in the market and see India become our largest international market outside of the UK by 2016.”
In 2008, M&S entered into a partnership with Reliance Retail and since then the company has obtained firm footing to expand throughout the rest of India. Tonight M&S opens its first Lingerie & Beauty department in its flagship store on Bandra high street, in Mumbai, in a orchestrated move, as Lingerie currently accounts for over a fifth of it’s a general merchandising sales in the market. According to Euromonitor, Indian sales were worth 1.8 billion pounds last year and are estimated to grow by 54 percent by 2017. The second M&S Lingerie & Beauty department is set to open in the company’s South Extension store in Delhi next week.
Business Head of Apparel at Reliance Retail, Sriram Srinivasan said in the press release: “We have successfully partnered with Marks & Spencer over the years to combine Reliance Retail’s expertise in retailing and understanding of the Indian marketplace with Marks & Spencer’s legendary product development capabilities to deliver a delightful experience for Indian consumers. We look forward to our continued engagement with Marks & Spencer towards the development and strengthening of our presence in India.”
M&S opened its first store in India back in 2001 and is set to open 8 stores in India by the end of March 2014, followed by an additional 36 stores in the next two years. The company has also set up a sourcing operation in India and South Asia to help support its growing business in India, the UK and other international market and help turn the tide of failing general merchandising sales.
Photo: M&S store in New Delhi