Marks & Spencer will make its much anticipated debut in mainland China next week as it proceeds with international expansion despite punishing domestic trading conditions.

The retailer will open a 40,000 sq ft store on Shanghai’s Nanjing Road West on Thursday – the same day as it is expected to reveal dire trading at its core UK stores.

Pali International analyst Nick Bubb expects M&S to post a UK like-for-like sales decline of as much as 7.5 per cent next week, at both its food and general merchandise arms.

On Tuesday Deutsche Bank, which has had a buy stance on the retailer for more than two years, shifted its stance to hold.

Although M&S’s international operations are small in comparison with the UK business, overseas growth is a key focus. The retailer intends to generate between 15 and 20 per cent of group sales internationally within five years. At present there are 275 shops in 39 international territories.

China is likely to eclipse the US as the world’s biggest economy by 2015. Its middle class is estimated to number over 100 million.