French retailer Galeries Lafayette is asking for €60m from UK food and clothing retailer Marks and Spencer following the acquisition of M&S' French business in December 2001.

The claim centres on the "significantly costlier than planned" redundancy programme negotiated between M&S France and its staff. According to Galeries Lafayette, M&S upped its offer in the last few days of the negotiations which led to the vast majority of staff accepting severance terms.

Galeries Lafayette co-chairman, Philippe Lemoine said he hoped the dispute could be settled out of court.

Acquiring M&S France, which included the purchase of its Parisian flagship store in the rue du Rivoli, for an estimated €67m was expected to have a neutral impact on the French group’s accounts. However, it finally weighed on its current result to the tune of €4.4m.