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May, 05 2014

Making a Mark in retail

With India being a priority market, Marks & Spencer (M&S) plans rapid expansion here. M&S looks forward to take the current store count from 40 to 80 full-line stores by 2016.

In a dialogue with TFW's Ekta Verma, Venu Nair, Managing Director, Marks & Spencer (M&S), India talks about business plans of the brand and how M&S maintains its exceptional quality and great value. 


Tell us about Marks and Spencer's strategies to enter Indian market?

We opened our first store in India in 2001 and in April 2008 we signed a Joint Venture with Reliance Retail to form Marks & Spencer Reliance India Pvt Ltd. Today, we have 40 stores located in Delhi, Gurgaon, Noida, Mumbai, Pune, Kolkata, Bangalore, Chennai, Kerala and Hyderabad. We plan to build a leadership position in India by doubling our presence which will see the country become our largest international market outside of the UK (in store numbers).

What is your target group?

Our offer includes womenswear, lingerie, beauty, menswear and kidswear. We offer exceptional quality, stylish products for the entire family.

Via which model do you operate in India?

India is a priority market for M&S and we are working together with our joint venture partner Reliance Retail to continue to accelerate our growth in the market. We have no plans to change our successful partnership with Reliance Retail.

Across the globe, in which countries have you adopted franchise route and why?

We adopt appropriate ownership model for different markets in which we operate  such as wholly owned stores in Hong Kong, or franchisees in the Middle East. Internationally, we have over 20 franchise partners who operate 264 M&S stores across 32 territories. Our franchise business allows us to work with strong and motivated partners who have excellent local market knowledge, it's also capital light, lets us accelerate growth and offers immediate returns.

Any line of attack applied in UK which you will apply in India too?

In the UK we're established retailer known for our company values of Quality, Value, Service, Innovation and Trust. These values are important for us in India too and can be seen through our exceptional quality, great value and innovative products as well as our high levels of customer service.

Is India a potential market for your business, with so many International brands already coming in?

We have been present in India since 2001 and continue to expand rapidly in the country. We currently have 40 stores in the country and we aim to have 80 full-line stores in the market by 2016, as part of our ongoing strategy to become a leading international, multi-channel retailer. By doubling our presence in the country, India will become M&S's largest international market outside of the UK.

Which all cities in India are you tapping for expansion?

We are focusing on building a leadership position in India including cities such as Mumbai and Delhi by opening a cluster of supporting stores around its flagship store locations. We are also expanding into secondary cities, having recently opened stores in Surat and Kanpur and will be exploring by entering new cities like Mohali, Nagpur and Raipur later this year.


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