Thursday 16 September 2021 12:03 pm

M&S to close French high street stores after Brexit red-tape

Marks & Spencer will shut 11 of its French stores because of supply issues with fresh and chilled foods after Brexit.

The supermarket said it would close all franchise stores operated with partner SFH in the country by the end of the year.

Nine stores at travel hubs would remain open but supply chain problems meant there was “no workable alternative” for high street stores.

“M&S has a long history of serving customers in France and this is not a decision we or our partner SFH have taken lightly,” said Paul Friston, M&S international director.

“However, as things stand today, the supply chain complexities in place following the UK’s exit from the European Union now make it near impossible for us to serve fresh and chilled products to customers to the high standards they expect, resulting in an ongoing impact to the performance of our business.”

The retailer said red-tape at the border had caused delays that made it a struggle to get fresh food items including sandwiches to stores.

Stores run with partner Lagardere Travel Retail – in airports, railway and Metro stations – have not been affected by the supply chain woes.

The business will continue its French online operation, selling clothes and homeware. 

M&S announced in April it was removing the sale of all fresh and chilled products from stores in the Czech Republic and would double ranges of frozen and ambient items.