UK retailer will open pilot site in the autumn
Marks & Spencer has said it is on schedule to open its first Russian store this autumn.

M&S will open its first store at Festival Mall in southwest Moscow with its Turkish franchise partner FIBA Holding. The company operates 23 M&S stores in Turkey through subsidiary Marka Magazacilik.

However, the retailer denied reports in Russian business daily Kommersant that it is poised to sign for sites at five Ikea-owned Mega shopping centres. Such a move would take M&S outside Moscow and into the Russian regions.

A Marka Magazacilik spokesperson said: 'We have a plan for Russia but nothing has been finalised.'

Department store operator Debenhams had been investigating space at the Mega malls, but Ikea centre manager operations, commercial centres Russia Herman Gerwert said a deal had not been completed.

He declined to confirm whether talks with M&S had taken place but added: 'We only confirm written contracts once they are signed.'

One Moscow-based property agent noted: 'The Mega malls are incredibly successful. If a retailer like M&S is coming over, then taking sites at the Ikea malls makes perfect sense.'