Food and support services group Compass has struck a franchise deal with Marks & Spencer to open Simply Food stores in hospitals.

Compass has opened the first such shop at the Royal Derby hospital and more will follow.

Marks & Spencer head of UK Franchise Paul Horwell, said: “The combination of Compass’ retail expertise in specialist locations with the M&S’ innovative, quality food offer is an exciting prospect.

“Derby is a great opportunity for both parties and I’m looking forward to seeing how much further we can take the partnership.”

At Derby Compass already runs branches of Costa Coffee, Deli Marche and convenience fascia amigo.

Compass Group UK & Ireland managing director Ian Sarson, said: “M&S is an ideal strategic partner for Compass. We look forward to offering our customers the confidence of a high street quality brand that they know and love.”

Hospitals are becoming increasingly important retail locations and share many characteristics of lucrative travel markets such as railway stations.

WHSmith runs a chain of hospital stores and has also begun opening M&S Simply Food stores in hospitals on a franchise basis.