Marks & Spencer will be trading online in 10 countries by the end of the year.

The retail bellweather currently only has transactional websites in France and the UK, but has stores in 43 countries.

Multichannel and ecommerce director Laura Wade Gery said at the World Retail Congress today that international online trading is a huge opportunity for the retailer, but declined to say which countries it will launch the websites in.

She said: “By the end of this year we will be transactional in 10 countries.” 

Wade Gery added international ecommerce has become a priority for the business. “It’s accelerating because we think this is a very big opportunity. It’s delivering results and growth is ahead of the market.”

She emphasised the importance of online and multichannel trading across the business, saying 80% of the retailer’s core target market - the 55+ age group - is online, while 12% of the retailer’s general merchandise sales are online, and one third of the dresses it sells are via the ecommerce channel.

Wade Gery added new technology is driving a lot of the growth in online trading, and said she expects to see development coming through in the payments sphere, with technologies such as near field communication (NFC) and contactless payments coming to the fore.

Marks & Spencer has recently launched new consumer facing store technologies such as its Browse and Order points, showcased in its new Cheshire Oaks superstore, and launched its first iPad app last week.

Wade Gery said a culture of experimentation is important for multichannel retailers. She said: “I dont think we know definitively what’s going to win in this multichannel space.”