A deal extension with Moto brings the format up to nine locations in service areas
Marks & Spencer has announced an extension of its Simply Food store format into motorway service areas. Six outlets will be opened over the next 18 months in a franchise deal with Moto, part of Compass Group.

The retailer opened a Simply Food shop at Toddington services last year, and launched stores at Reading and the Cherwell Valley earlier this year. A further store at Knutsford in Cheshire will open next week, while five other suitable sites are in the process of being established. All nine stores will be run in collaboration with Moto.

The stores are in addition to the 500,000 sq ft (46,450 sq m) of selling space the retailer is devoting to food-only shopping. There are 119 M&S standalone food stores in the UK at present.

M&S chief executive Stuart Rose said: 'As part of our Simply Food roll out, we are delighted to be extending our contract with Moto so we can give our customers more choice in more locations.'

The announcement comes after speculation that M&S was considering selling off the format. The retailer yesterday flatly denied any such move was taking place.