Marks & Spencer sells Hong Kong and Macau business to partner Al-Futtaim

Rebecca Smith
M&S confirmed the sale after a strategic review
M&S confirmed the sale after a strategic review (Source: Getty)

Marks & Spencer announced today that it had sold its retail business in Hong Kong and Macau to franchise partner Al-Futtaim for an undisclosed sum.

It follows a strategic review the high street stalwart carried out of its international business in November 2016, with M&S proposing to have an increased focus on its established franchise and joint venture partnerships.

Talks between M&S and Al-Futtaim were revealed in August, with the two long-time partners entering a period of due diligence. The sale of 27 shops was completed on 30 December and means that Al-Futtaim has become the sole franchisee for M&S in Hong Kong and Macau.

Read more: M&S begins talks over offloading Hong Kong, Macau franchises

Paul Friston, M&S international director, said: “We have substantially reshaped our international business, which has improved profitability and positioned us for growth. As one of the world’s leading retail operators, with strong logistics capabilities and local expertise, Al-Futtaim is the ideal partner for us to develop and grow our business in Hong Kong and Macau.”

The announcement comes after the retailer announced in November 2016 it would shut 30 UK stores and convert others into food-only shops as part of a hefty overhaul, while eyeing the move of underperforming stores.

A turnaround plan unveiled by boss Steve Rowe also included the closure of 53 unprofitable international stores in 10 countries, including some in China and France.

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