M & S in talks with Al-Futtaim to discharge SAR stores

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British multinational retailer Marks and Spencer (M&S) has announced that it is in discussions with its long-time franchising partner Al-Futtaim for the potential purchase and franchising of the retailer’s M&S owned retail business in Macau and Hong Kong. This would see Al-Futtaim become the ‘new sole franchisee’ for the brand in the SARs, according to a company release.
According to the release the parties are commencing a due dilligence period set to last several months, a the colthoughmpany notes that ‘M&S employees will be kept informed of any developments throughout the process and M&S sotres in Hong Kong and Macau will continue to trade as normal’.
In accordance with the strategic review of its international business in November 2016, the British firm proposes placing greater attention on its established franchise and joint venture partnerships, operating fewer wholly-owned markets.
Marks & Spencer entered the Hong Kong market in 1988, since when it has established 25 stores in the HKSAR and two in Macau.
The group set up its first Macau store in August 2014, in The Venetian.
The partnership between M&S and Al-Futtaim was established in 1998 when the first M&S store was launched in Dubai. Currently, Al-Futtaim manages 43 M&S stores in Singapore, Malaysia and seven other markets in the Middle East.
“In November, we set out our plans to create a more sustainable, profitable and customer-centric international business for M&S by focussing on our established partnerships,” said Paul Friston, M&S’s International Director. “Al-Futtaim is a key partner to M&S in Asia and the Middle East and we are both committed to putting the customer at the heart of everything we do.”