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Press Release

MARKS & SPENCER OPENS FRANCHISE TALKS WITH AL-FUTTAIM FOR HONG KONG AND MACAU BUSINESS

30 Aug 2017

Marks & Spencer (M&S) today announced it has opened talks with its long-established franchise partner Al-Futtaim, for the potential purchase and franchising of M&S’s owned retail business in Hong Kong and Macau. A successful conclusion to these discussions would see Al-Futtaim become the new sole franchisee for M&S in Hong Kong and Macau. 

Al-Futtaim has worked in partnership with M&S since 1998 when it opened the first M&S store in Dubai. Today, Al-Futtaim operates 43 Marks & Spencer stores across seven markets in the Middle East, as well as in Singapore and Malaysia. Most recently Al-Futtaim has extended the reach of M&S’s popular chilled food to three markets, and will shortly be opening the first standalone M&S Food store in the Middle East. 

The talks follow M&S’s strategic review of its International business in November 2016, where M&S proposed to have a greater focus on its established franchise and joint venture partnerships and operate with fewer wholly-owned markets. In Hong Kong, where M&S has traded since 1988, the business is profitable, has strong brand awareness, an established store estate of 27 stores and a loyal customer base. 

M&S and Al-Futtaim have now entered into discussions on the potential purchase and franchise which includes commencing a period of due diligence, which is expected to take several months to complete. M&S employees will be kept informed of any developments throughout the process and M&S stores in Hong Kong and Macau will continue to trade as normal. 

Paul Friston, Marks & Spencer’s International Director, said: “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. 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. With significant scale and retail expertise in the region, we are looking forward to discussing the potential extension of our partnership to Hong Kong and Macau as we continue to grow and develop our business together.”  

Stephen Rayfield, Senior Managing Director – Fashion & Lifestyle Division at Al-Futtaim said: “As long-term partners of Marks & Spencer, I’m delighted that we are now working together to explore the potential expansion of our partnership to Hong Kong and Macau.

“M&S and Al-Futtaim share values, and an approach that focuses the customer at the heart of our businesses. Al-Futtaim looks forward to building on our solid foundations as we continue to enrich our customers' lives and aspirations through the provision of quality products and services in Hong Kong and Macau - these are among Marks & Spencer’s most successful and important international markets.”

-ENDS-

For further information, please contact:

M&S Corporate Press Office +44208 718 1919

Notes to Editors

  • Marks & Spencer entered Hong Kong in 1988 and now has 27 stores in Hong Kong and Macau. 
  • The potential purchase relates to M&S’s owned retail business in Hong Kong and Macau only. M&S’s Hong Kong sourcing based operation will remain wholly-owned. 

About Marks & Spencer 

  • Established in 1884, Marks & Spencer is one of the UK’s leading retailers.  
  • Marks & Spencer is committed to making every moment special for its customers, through its high quality, own-brand food, clothing and home products that it offers in over 1,400 Marks & Spencer stores worldwide and online. 
  • Internationally, Marks & Spencer trades in 50 markets, with over 400 stores and an online presence in 25 markets.  
  • For more information please visit: http://corporate.marksandspencer.com/ 

About Al-Futtaim 

  • Al-Futtaim has worked in partnership with Marks & Spencer since 1998 and operates 27 M&S stores in the Middle East region and 16 in South East Asia. 
  • Established in the 1930s as a trading business, Al-Futtaim is one of the most progressive regional business houses headquartered in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Al-Futtaim operates through more than 200 companies across four operational divisions: automotive, financial services, real estate and retail, and employs in excess of 42,000 people across 29 countries in the Middle East, Asia and Europe.
  • Al-Futtaim has also acquired a strategic interest in RSH Limited which operates in the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Middle East.  
  • Since 2008, Al-Futtaim has also owned Robinson Group, Singapore’s signature department store chain and specialty stores.
  • For more information please visit: www.alfuttaim.com 


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