Marks & Spencer CEO Marc Bolland

Marks & Spencer CEO Marc Bolland

Marks and Spencer has said it wants to have 20 food stores in Paris by the end of 2017.

The UK retailer outlined the target at an investor seminar in the French capital yesterday (1 April) when it announced a new franchise deal with SFH Invest, a vehicle set up by retailers Steve and Franck Hadjez.

The agreement with SFH Invest will see Marks & Spencer Food outlets of around 300 sq metres in size opened at "on-street locations in Paris". The companies will open the first three of these outlets this summer.

M&S's tie-up with SFH Invest follows a franchise deal announced last year with French newsagent Relay to open ten stores in and around Paris by 2018.

The first of these stores - a 700 square metre outlet at La Défense RATP RER station - will open at the start of June. 

The deals underline the retailer's investment in western Europe, a region it had retreated from ten years ago. It returned to France in 2011.

Last April, M&S opened a store in Amsterdam carrying a food and non-food offering. The retailer plans to open a further two full-line stores in The Hague and Amsterdam in the coming two years. It has also entered into an agreement to open six Simply Food pilots at BP forecourts in "key locations" in Randstad.

M&S said yesterday it would open two owned food stores in western Europe this summer.

"We're putting M&S Food on the map over the next five years. Western Europe is our focus and finding the right partners and locations is vital to the success of our plan to have the optimal food store portfolio in this time," Steve Rowe, executive director for food at M&S, said.

The announcements for the retailer's food business came alongside a broader ambition of opening 250 new full-line stores in its international markets.

M&S said it would "double" its franchise business with Middle East retailer Al Futtaim Group.

Al-Futtaim has worked with M&S since 1997 and operates 46 of the retailer's stores in eight Middle East markets, plus Malaysia and Singapore, via its Robinsons subsidiary.

M&S's full-line international stores predominantly sell non-food products.