Marks & Spencer is planning to more than double its retail presence in India in the next two years.
M&S is targeting around 80 stores by 2016, up from its current 36, which it will build through partner Reliance Retail as it looks to make India the retailer’s biggest single territory outside of the UK.
India is M&S’ fastest growing Asian territory, reporting double-digit growth in its recent half year results.
Chief executive Marc Bolland announced the expansion during a trip to Mumbai, where he will visit the recently-opened flagship store in Bandra, a suburb in the west of the city. The 35,000 sq ft branch is M&S’ largest and features a wide range of clothing including its Savile Row Inspired collection and Per Una Speziale.
M&S’ growth strategy will see it open “a cluster of supporting stores” around flagships in major cities like Delhi and Mumbai, as well as expanding into secondary cities such as Surat and Kanpur. It also plans to push in growth areas such as lingerie and beauty and make the most of M&S’ local sourcing.
Bolland said: “India is a priority market for M&S and working closely together with our partner Reliance Retail we have set a clear plan to build a leadership position here. As the nation’s leading retailer operator, Reliance Retail is the perfect partner for us in India with extensive local expertise and experience, with strengths in infrastructure, logistics, technology and property.
“We have the ideal platform to accelerate our growth in the market and see India become our largest international market outside of the UK by 2016.”