Following a successful international store opening plan last year which saw sales grow by 6.2%, M&S continues to invest in its overseas portfolio by opening stores in three new markets: Finland, Norway and Vietnam.
M&S targets Nordic country
This will be the second debut in Finland for M&S, however this time it is in conjunction with new franchise partner S Group: the leading retailer in Finland. The first store, located in Helsinki, will have 32,000 sq ft of floor space across four floors, and opens on 9 October. Another six stores are expected to follow in Finland over the next year as well as a transactional website, adhering to M&S's strategy to be a multichannel 'clicks and bricks' retailer. The Finnish website will be the retailer's ninth European website.
Venturing into Norway
M&S will also enter the Norwegian market for the first time this year with a food store in Norway's capital Oslo, which is set to be followed by seven more. Due to open in November with franchise partner Pocos Group, the first store will bring the retailer's total numbers of stores in Europe up to c.162.
Regional director of Europe, François Smeyers said to Retail Week, "Expanding our reach to Scandinavia, which we see as an important international market for us, is a central part of our ongoing international growth strategy in Europe and we are delighted to be opening our first stores in the region over the next few months."
First Vietnam store exceeds expectations
M&S has also been spredaing its wings in Asia, opening its first department store in Vietnam a few weeks ago. Initial trading has been extremely encouraging with the store reaching its one month target within ten days of opening in Ho Chi Minh City where it plans to open another store. In total, the retailer hopes to add c.20 more stores in Vietnam over the next five to six years in 'Hanoi and beyond' according to Bruce Findlay, regional director for Asia.
Further future expansion plans
M&S outlined in its 2014 annual report that it will open 250 international stores over the next three years. Priority markets for expansion include India, China, Russia, the Middle East and Western Europe with 60% of openings running as franchise stores.
Catch a glimpse of an M&S store in Amsterdam in our new city guide