M&S to refocus China portfolio

Wednesday, 09 April 2014
M&S is re-focusing its Chinese strategy and will open new stores in Beijing and Guangzhou. At the same time the British high street giant will close up to five of its current stores in Shanghai.

"We continue to review the shape of our existing store portfolio and may relocate a couple of our existing supporting stores in the Shanghai and surrounding area to open our new flagship stores in cities like Beijing and Guangzhou," it told China Daily on Tuesday.

"We expect this to be around two to five store relocations, but our ambition is to still have 15 owned stores complemented by stores with our local partner and an online presence."

M&S’s managing director for China, Stephen Rayfield, said that its flagship stores at Golden Bell and West Nanjing Road continue to perform well, and the company believes there is an opportunity to enter new cities such as Beijing and Guangzhou.

M&S is also looking to work with a local partner to accelerate its growth in China, he said.

However, the British retailer’s unclear market position – sandwiched between high-end luxury brands and rapidly expanding fast-fashion brands – presents a challenge in terms of attracting more shoppers, according to Jason Yu, general manager of Kantar Worldpanel.

"Marks & Spencer's lacks a high-end image in China among consumers, yet it is not responding as quickly to customers as are fast fashion brands," he said.

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