UK food and clothing retailer Marks & Spencer has announced plans to extend its franchise contract with Moto, part of catering group Compass, by opening an additional six Simply Food stores at motorway service stations over the next 18 months.

This will bring the number of Simply Food motorway stores to nine. The first Simply Food Moto store opened at Toddington (M1) in 2003, followed by Cherwell Valley (M40) and Reading (M4) this year. Knutsford (M6) is due to open next week and other suitable sites are currently being identified.

M&S said the new Moto stores are in addition to the 500,000 sq ft of additional Simply Food and food-only space that the company plans to roll out by 2005/06. There are currently 119 standalone food stores.

"As part of our Simply Food rollout, we are delighted to be extending our contract with Moto so we can give our customers more choice in more locations," said chief executive Stuart Rose.