Marks & Spencer is ramping up its international expansion with plans for 250 new overseas stores by 2017.
Over the next three years Marks & Spencer, which already operates 455 international stores across 53 territories, aims to increase international sales by 25% and profits by 40%.
Priority markets include India, China, Russia, the Middle East and Western Europe. It will focus on expanding its food and franchise operations.
The retailer said it will adopt a “bricks and clicks” approach by opening “flagship stores in key cities supported M&S Food stores and a full online offer”.
M&S will open around 20 standalone Food stores in Paris over the next three years. It will roll out fresh food in Europe through its franchise partnerships.
Marks & Spencer chief executive Marc Bolland said: “Our strategy of becoming an international, multichannel retailer is more relevant than ever before because of the strong growth potential of international markets. We are focusing on flagship stores to deliver brand presence and stand-out. We also see great opportunities in fresh Food and Lingerie & Beauty concepts.”
M&S executive director of Food Steve Rowe said: “M&S Food is in much demand globally. From toasted crumpets in The Hague to red wine in China, our international customers are very quick to tell us what their favourite M&S products are. This is why expanding our fresh food offer presents us with a strong growth opportunity.
“We’re putting M&S Food on the map over the next five years. Western Europe is our focus and finding the right partners and locations is vital to the success of our plan to have the optimal Food store portfolio in this time.”
Marks & Spencer’s international sales edged up 0.9% to £1.08bn in the year to March 30, 2013. Underlying operating profit fell 9.9% last year to £120.2m.