M&S to boost its food offering amid Asian store sell off
Marks & Spencer is preparing to expand its food offering in a bid to claw back its presence on the high street amid a major restructuring in Asia. M&S is to widen the range of its popular chilled range ‘food to go’ while opening new ‘simply food’ outlets at petrol stations across the UK. Meanwhile, its entire store network of 27 shops in Hong Kong and Macau, are to be sold in a bid to refocus its energies on profitable revenue streams.
The fortunes of M&S have fluctuated over recent years as the brand has faced fierce competition from the likes of ASOS, which has caused its clothes sales to fall. The market value of M&S currently stands at just above £5bn, which is a major drop from the £16bn of 1997 and Jill McDonald from Halfords has been called into help stem the decline.
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M&S currently has 914 stores in the UK and the conglomerate is to expand its food-to-go chilled range, which has proven popular with shoppers with surprisingly competitive prices. It is also preparing to open standalone food stores in Asia and the Middle East although it is divesting its concerns in Hong Kong and Macau. M&S has stated that a strategic review called for a reduction in its wholly-owned markets as it pushes its food services in the UK.
The 27 stores up for sale, although profitable, are to be acquired by M&S’s franchise partner Al-Futtain, which is based in the Middle East. Dubai-based Al-Futtaim is already running 43 M&S stores in seven countries across the Middle East and parts of Asia.