The ideal solution for Marks & Spencer’s French stores would be to find a single buyer, Alain Juillet, chief executive of Marks & Spencer’s French unit, told Le Figaro in an interview published Monday.

“The best solution would be that a single group commits to keeping most of the workforce, or all of it, keeping work contracts unchanged,” Juillet said.

The group’s 18 French stores, which employ 1,700 workers, are due to close by December 31. Juillet said he still hopes to be able to meet that deadline.

“I can tell you that some units of the same group are interested in making a global offer and then splitting the stores among themselves,” the French CEO said. “Each candidate has it’s own perspective,” he added. “One can’t compare Galeries Lafayette with other foreign groups, who would use this operation to enter into city centres in one shot”.

Galeries Lafayette is the owner of Paris flagship department store Galeries Lafayette as well as city centre chain Monoprix, and has been rumoured as potentially interested in taking over some of Marks & Spencer’s assets.

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