The French outlets of UK retailer Marks and Spencer could find themselves under the Galeries Lafayette banner as the large French retail chain ended weeks of rumours with positive confirmation that it had submitted a bid for the shops.


Company Profile:

Marks and Spencer Plc

M&S announced earlier this year that it would be closing its continental European operations to cut costs and focus on its home market. Failure to consult its 1,700-strong staff over the plans, however, meant that M&S was told in court not to close its 18 French stores down completely.

Speaking as his group unveiled positive H1 results, Philippe Houze, co-CEO of Galeries Lafayette, commented: “We said in April that we were interested in M&S stores for two reasons – prime locations and well-trained staff.” Many analysts believe that customer and staff loyalty could be another important factor in the firm’s interest in the M&S outlets.

Other bidders may soon join the scene, however. Another French retailer, Pinault-Printemps Redoute, has expressed some interest in M&S France and some market watchers have tagged US giant Wal-Mart as a potential buyer.

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