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Today we opened our first Marks & Spencer Food store in Paris at La Défense RATP RER station – at 700 square metres it’s our biggest Food store at a railway station in the whole world. Serving commuters and shoppers alike, our new store is an exciting first step in significantly expanding our Food store network across Paris, with the aim of bringing the best of our quality, fresh convenience food to more Parisian customers.
 
Having worked previously at our Boulevard Haussmann store for two years, I’ve seen firsthand the popularity of M&S food in France and the special place it has in our French customers’ hearts. When we returned to France with our Champs Elysees store in 2011, the opening was one I will never forget. Our teams worked tirelessly to meet the exceptional demand for crumpets and muffins, restocking the shelves many times in one day, with the queue into the store lasting for over 20 days.
 
Today our Paris Food Halls are our top performing stores for Indian meals, Scotch pancakes and Shortbread tins, across the our whole UK and international business. Whether it’s the 19,000 Chicken Tikka Masala ready meals, 54,000 BLT sandwiches or 53,000 Scottish shortbread biscuit tins we sold last year – our food continues to resonate well with our French customers. But it’s not just British favourites, our customers in France also love our new innovative Summer of Flavour grill and deli ranges and fantastic fresh fruit. Even our New World wines do well on this side of the Channel too.
 
Paris provides us with an exciting opportunity to grow our Food business and just like in the UK, where we have over 270 franchise Food stores, we don’t want to do it alone.  By working with partners such as Relay France, who have a leading presence on the Parisian transportation network, we’re able to access convenient travel locations and utilise their excellent knowledge of the French market. Relay France’s long standing relationship with Promométro, who manage stores all over the metro and RER network, has been vital to us securing prominent locations such as La Défense which has over 150,000 commuters pass by every day and also Châtelet-Les-Halles, the busiest suburban train station in Europe.
 
We have ambitious plans to open 20 Food stores in Paris over the next three years and our franchise partnerships will help us to accelerate our growth.  By the end of this summer we will have six Marks & Spencer Food stores across Paris allowing us to extend our unique, quality, fresh food offer to even more customers across the city.

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