UK-based retailer Marks & Spencer (M&S) has confirmed the sale and franchise of its retail business in Hong Kong and Macau to its long-established franchise partner Al-Futtaim. The sale, which was completed on Saturday, December 30, sees Dubai-based conglomerate Al-Futtaim become the new sole franchisee for M&S in Hong Kong and Macau.
Al-Futtaim has worked in partnership with M&S since 1998 when it opened Dubai’s first M&S store. Following the purchase of 27 Marks & Spencer stores in Hong Kong and Macau, Al-Futtaim now operates 72 Marks & Spencer stores across 11 markets in Asia and the Middle East.
“We have substantially reshaped our International business, which has improved profitability and positioned us for growth,” said Paul Friston, international director at Marks & Spencer. “As one of the world’s leading retail operators, with strong logistics capabilities and local expertise, Al-Futtaim is the ideal partner for us to develop and grow our business in Hong Kong and Macau.”
“We are delighted to strengthen our long-term partnership with M&S and expand Al-Futtaim’s international footprint to Hong Kong and Macau,” added Stephen Rayfield, vice president of M&S and Sports & Lifestyle Division at Al-Futtaim. “Al-Futtaim looks forward to building on our solid foundations as we continue to enrich our customers’ lives and aspirations through the provision of quality products and services in Hong Kong and Macau.”
The sale follows M&S’s strategic review of its International business in November 2016, where M&S proposed to have a greater focus on its established franchise and joint venture partnerships and operate with fewer wholly-owned markets.