Marks & Spencer has won a French court case brought by three trade unions following the UK group’s decision to close 18 stores as part of its foreign downsizing.

The CFDT, CFTX and CGCFE unions had specifically challenged the legality of M&S’ European works council. The court dismissed the case and ordered the CFDT to pay legal costs and a fine of FF10,000 (US$1,408) to M&S.

“We are delighted with this ruling,” said M&S. “It is a very positive thing because we can now really refocus activities on finding a buyer for the stores.”

The group’s French operations still faces a court decision concerning three of its managers. An earlier ruling has already determined that the group has broken labour law.