M&S to ramp up its Simply Food store openings

Kasmira Jefford
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MARKS & Spencer is set to expand its fast-growing food business by opening 150 Simply Food stores in the UK over the next three years.

Speaking at an investor day yesterday, M&S’s executive director for food Steve Rowe said half of the new openings will be in high street or out-of-town locations with car parks, to encourage customers to do a bigger part of their weekly shop with the group.

The other stores will be opened by franchise partners in travel hubs such as train stations and hospitals.

The retailer has also a agreed a new franchise deal with French newsagent Relay to open 10 food stores around Paris. This comes after recently launching four store pilots with a franchise partner in the Netherlands.

M&S’s food division now accounts for 55 per cent of the business and has been performing well compared to its traditional clothing business, which the retailer is battling to turn around.

Rowe said he plans to build on that growth by launching frozen food stores, introducing chefs and increasing the number of stores with the full 7,000 range of products.