Marks & Spencer has confirmed it will close its three stores in Taiwan – just 14 months into a trial launch in the country.

M&S said the stores, focused largely on clothing but with a small food offer, had not performed well, partly because Taiwanese shoppers are more accustomed to shopping in a department store environment.

The company’s 60% joint venture in the country with local partner President Chain Store is now in the process of liquidation.

“We opened three stores as a trial to see if the model would work,” a spokesperson added. “Unfortunately it didn’t work so we have decided to pull out.”

M&S’ first Taiwanese store opened in April last year in the southern port city of Kaohsiung, and was followed by two more stores in Taipei.

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The company was keen to point out that other global projects were running on track, with store roll-outs in the Balkans, India and Shanghai all unaffected by the news.

“This is a one-off for our international expansion and we are going great guns everywhere else,” the spokesperson went onto say.

The company would not rule out returning to Taiwan in the future, having briefly set up a regional office there in 2001 before exiting.