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M&S enters Azerbaijan and expands in Saudi Arabia through new Alhokair deal

Marks & Spencer will open 10 stores in Saudi Arabia as part of a new deal struck with franchise partner Alhokair Fashion Retail.

The first of the 10 Saudi stores – a 10,000 sq ft branch at the Aziz Mall in Jeddah – will open this August, followed by an 18,300 sq ft store at the Nakheel Mall in Riyadh in September. By next April the remaining eight will have opened.

The deal will also see M&S enter Azerbaijan for the first time, with Alhokair opening a flagship store in the capital city of Baku this autumn. The 18,3000 sq ft store will be based in the Port Baku Mall, offering an “extensive range” of M&S‘ womenswear, menswear, kidswear and lingerie – as well as accessories, footwear, and beauty products.

Alhokair has worked with M&S since 2001 and operates 19 M&S franchise stores across Saudi Arabia, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Georgia. It was the first franchise partner to open a standalone lingerie and beauty concept store internationally, in Saudi Arabia.

A further two standalone lingerie and beauty stores will open at the Al Noor Mall in Medina and at the Mall of Arabia in Jeddah this autumn and a further six should launch by the end of this financial year.

Alhokair chief executive, Simon Marshall, said: “M&S has tremendous appeal to consumers in all the markets in which we operate their stores currently, and further afield. Our focus is on driving fast, efficient and profitable growth for their core business and new store formats.”

Mark Koprowski, M&S’ regional director for the Middle East and Commonwealth of Independent States, added: “Our franchise partnerships are central to our international growth strategy.”

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