Marks & Spencer will expand into the Nordic countries by opening 15 franchise stores in Finland and Norway, the first of which will open next month, followed by a Finnish website next year.
A 32,000 sq ft Helsinki flagship will open on October 9, with another six stores opening in Finland over the next 12 months with franchise partner S Group. M&S confirmed the launch of a Finnish website next year but could not give further details.
The first Norwegian store - a Simply Food outlet - will open in Oslo in November through franchise partner Pocos Group. It will be followed by seven further stores, which will include general merchandise. M&S would not comment on any plans to launch a website in the country.
M&S previously had a store in Finland, but closed it in 2001.
Regional director of Europe Francois Smeyers said: “Expanding our reach to Scandinavia, which we see as an important international market for us, is a central part of our ongoing international growth strategy in Europe and we are delighted to be opening our first stores in the region over the next few months.”
The expansion is part of a strategy to open 250 international stores by 2016. M&S currently has 460 stores outside of the UK, including 160 in Europe.