UK retailer Marks and Spencer plans to open more stores in China despite the teething problems it faced after launching its first outlet in Shanghai last year.

M&S chief executive Sir Stuart Rose told just-food more stores would open "in the not to distant future".

He said: "The Shanghai performance has been a bit of a learning curve but we're substantially improving it and there is absolutely no point in us thinking we're going to trade through one store in China.

"You're either there for the long-term to build a profitable business or you just shouldn't do it. There is an opportunity, and we must learn and be bold and move forward."

Speaking at an interim media briefing in London today (3 November), Sir Stuart also told just-food that the retailer was determined to lay down a footprint in India and China.

"In China we're doing it ourselves and in India we're doing it through a partnership with Reliance."

M&S, which has 315 stores in 41 countries, opened two Indian stores during the first-half period ended 26 September. There are also plans for ten more stores there, representing 20,000 square feet, within the next two years.

In China, M&S had reported "teething problems" including the availability of certain food products earlier this year, but now says the Shanghai store is performing in line with its plans.

M&S today reported pre-tax profits of GBP298.3m (US$493.4m) for the first half of the year - flat compared to GBP297.8m in the first half of last year.

Its strong international performance helped lift group sales by 2.8% to GBP4.3bn.

Meanwhile, international profits soared 21.1% to GBP65.9m during the period, on the back of a 12.2% international revenue increase.