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Drapers Fashion Summit: M&S seeks to become 'authoritative' international retailer

Marks & Spencer will focus on key markets such as India as it aims to become an “authoritative” international multichannel retailer.

Speaking at the Drapers Fashion Summit M&S’ head of international supply chain Kieran Donovan said: “Our vision is to become an international multichannel retailer, which operates with authority in the markets it is present.”

In order to do this the retailer will focus on building an international organisation utilising partners across the world.

Donovan said: “The eyes and ears on the ground are invaluable in terms of giving you local experience.”

He added: “We are also going to focus on our key markets.”

The high street chain launched a flagship store in India last week, with plans to expand its portfolio in the country to 150. M&S has streamlined its supply chain in order to have fewer links from supplier to store.

In 2008 close to zero international stock was delivered directly to stores, however Donovan said ultimately M&S wants 80% of all stock to be delivered directly. In Asia and the Middle East the 80% target has already been reached.

“We are also much more clear about where we locate international distribution centres as well,” said Donovan. “The central DC to service all countries theoretically works well, but doesn’t take into account places where there are weekend driving bans or places where the ferry leaves once a week, apart from when it doesn’t.”

Marks & Spencer currently has four hub locations in Turkey, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and China. Donavan said that over half of the savings seen in the supply chain strategy was achieved by avoiding paying EU duty. 

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