UK expats shock at worldwide Marks and Spencer closures

Published:  1 Dec at 6 PM
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Following the UK company’s decision to close its stores in China due to lack of demand, the quintessentially British retailer has now announced it will close100 stores in Europe.

Known as a link with home for Brit expat shoppers, M&S has seemingly overreached itself with its huge expansion in Europe as well as its 10 stores in China. Once famed for its good quality, reasonably priced fashions and home décor goods, its UK sales figures and profits have been declining during recent years, although its website accounts for around £350 million annually in spite of stiff online competition.

Reasons put forward for the decline in sales and the company’s inability to succeed in new markets include its fashion branding, considered by shoppers nowadays to be out of date and expensive. M&S CEO Steve Rowe told the media his designers weren’t aiming at the store’s traditional target markets. Even non-designer prices are now too high, severely affecting the brand’s status as a British favourite.

The cuts will begin with the M&S flagship store in Paris’s upmarket Champs Elysees, and six more of its French outlets will close, two of which are specialised food outlets. The remaining 11 French outlets will continue at the present time. M&S in the Belgian capital of Brussels will soon be a fond memory for expats, and the Amsterdam and The Hague outlets are also due for the chop, along with stores in Hungary, Estonia and Lithuania.

According to executives, all stores due for closure are losing money, along with the 10 Chinese stores, but business as usual will continue for now in Ireland, Poland, Greece, the Czech Republic and Hong Kong. M&S’s one success story at the moment would seem to be its food outlets, whether part of a conventional store or stand-alone.

Known for quality fresh foods, salads, organics, healthy dishes and frozen meals, they’ve been a lifeline for busy professionals concerned about exactly what they’re eating. With overall profits slumping by 88 per cent, M&S shares losing their stability and analysts expecting further falls in sales, loyal expat and online shoppers fear its 132 years in business may come to a sad end.
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