It’s the end of an era, that of scones, oatcakes or sweet orange marmalade. British chain Marks & Spencer announced Thursday, September 16, the closure of 11 stores in France “Over the next few months”, more than half of its 20 sites in the country, due to supply issues linked to Brexit.
“The long and complex export procedures now in place following the UK’s exit from the European Union severely limit the supply of fresh and chilled product from the UK to Europe and continue to an impact on the availability of products for our customers ” in France, justifies the group in a press release.
Stores in airports or stations not affected
Mark & Spencer’s partnership with SFH, one of its two partners in France, “Will stop, which will result in the closure of its 11 franchise stores”, mainly located in Paris, by the end of the year, said the press release.
However, the nine Marks & Spencer stores owned by Lagardere Travel Retail, the group’s second partner in France, will remain open. These are shops located in airports, train stations or metro stations that “Will continue to function normally”.
“M & S has a long history of serving its customers in France and this is not a decision that we, or our partner SFH, have taken lightly”, regretted Paul Friston, responsible for Marks & Spencer for the international, in the press release.
Group losing speed
The group had already announced in April to withdraw all fresh products from its stores in the Czech Republic, to focus on frozen products and those that can be stored at room temperature.
The British brand, in decline for two decades, which employs more than 80,000 people, announced, in August 2020, the cut of 7,000 jobs due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and a decrease store attendance. The group announced at the end of August a jump in its sales in food and clothing, seeing the “Clear confirmation of beneficial effects” of this restructuring plan.