UK retailer Marks & Spencer has confirmed the sale and franchise of its retail business in Hong Kong and Macau to Al-Futtaim.
The deal, which was completed on 30 December, will see Al-Futtaim became the new sole franchisee for M&S in these markets, taking over 27 stores that were owned by the UK-based retail group.
Al-Futtaim has been a partner of Marks & Spencer since 1998, when it opened the first M&S store in Dubai. Following this purchase, the group now operates 72 Marks & Spencer stores across 11 markets in Asia and the Middle East.
In August, as part of a strategic review of its international operations, M&S opened talks for the potential sale of this business.
The retailer says that it aims to place greater focus on established joint-venture partnerships and operate within fewer wholly owned markets.
“We have substantially reshaped our international business, which has improved profitability and positioned us for growth,” said Paul Friston, Marks & Spencer’s international director.
“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,” Friston continued.
In November, M&S posted revenue of £5,125.6 million in its half-year results – up 2.6%, compared to the same period in 2016.
The clothing, home and food retailer saw its profits after tax quadruple to £84.6 million, with international profits trebling in the first half of the year.
© 2018 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Sarah Harford. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.