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M&S wants to drive food opportunity in Western Europe

retailer wants to focus on flagship stores and drive the online opportunity as well as the food opportunity. In France, the Netherlands and Belgium M&S wants to offer same day delivery for fresh food.


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Marks & Spence is trying really hard to shift its focus from being a British offline player towards an international online player. This is also something the presentation for international investors [pdf] carries out. A Marks & Spencer launch in Russia and Finland is planned to happen later this year.

But it’s not the first time Marks & Spencer tried to make it at mainland Europe. Back in 2001 it sold or closed its shops in countries like France, Germany, Spain, Portugal, The Netherlands and Belgium. But not it returns and it tries to do it succesfully by focusing on online stores instead of offline stores. “We are focusing on flagship stores to delive brand presence and to stand out”, M&S’s chief executive Marc Bolland says. “We also see great opportunities in lingerie and beauty concepts and in fresh food.”

With the latter, it it’s trying to offer same day delivery in The Netherlands, Belgium and France. Other countries in Western Europe, like Spain, Germany and Italy, should probably have to deal with next day delivery, as these countries are further away from the United Kingdom.

Fresh food same day delivery Marks & Spencer

Altogether, these activities should lead to stable revenues in the UK, while internationally M&S would like to grow at least a quarter in the next three years. To fulfill these whishes, the company has laid several logistic and technical fundaments in the last couple of years.

One way to achieve this, is by focusing also on its offline presence in particular in the form of flagship stores. They want to have one or several flagship stores in a country, so their product range can have its effect on M&S’s brand presence and image which hopefully leads to more visitors at their online store. The British department store would also like to have lots of pick-up points internationally, so the gap between the online store and offline shoppers gets smaller and smaller.

Not all roses for Marks & Spencer
Despite all the bold plans of expanding and opening new stores, Marks & Spencer is losing market share faster than any of its rivals among the UK’s top clothing retailers, according to analysis released last week. And after Marks & Spencer tried to convince its investors that the retailer is getting back in the game by expanding overseas, Goldman Sachs remains unconvinced, the London Evening Standard notes. Although M&S did manage to let their food sales rise, Goldman analysts are sceptical about this strategy as there’s growing pressure in the market from discounters like Lidl and Aldi.

Marks & Spencer in 2010 - no websites Marks & Spencer in 2013 - nine local websites