Britain's Marks and Spencers returns to France

11th October 2011, Comments 0 comments

The quintessentially British food and fashion store Marks and Spencer is to return to Paris 10 years after closing French branches and has opened a French online shop, the firm said Tuesday.

Homesick British expatriates and anglophile Parisians were dismayed in 2001 when the retailer closed its branches in the French capital, cutting off their supplies of pork pies, streaky bacon and sensible underwear.

From Tuesday, Marks and Spencer clothing will be available for delivery in France from the firm's new French-language website and later in the year a store will open on the Champs Elysees.

This will be the first of what the firm hopes will be several outlets in France and will stock womenswear and food, building on what it claims is 70 percent brand awareness among French shoppers.

"It's absolutely right that our first international website should launch here in France, where we know there's great awareness of M&S," said Laura Wade-Gery, the chain's executive director of e-commerce.

Marks and Spencer has 700 stores in Britain and 360 more around the world, but controversially quit France, sacking 1,700 French employees and provoking labour protests, under a former policy of consolidating in its home market.

© 2011 AFP

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