Plan to take retail space from 1.1 m sq ft now to 1.4 m sq ft by year-end, says India MD

Mumbai: British retailer Marks & Spencer (M&S) said it is opening a store every month in India, accelerating their outlet expansion even as a quarter of their sales comes from online channels.

With 100 stores opened in the past 15 years, India is already its largest International market outside ho- me in terms of store network.

“If you just look at the market, whether there are customers to buy M&S, there’s disposable income, there is enough macro and opportunity at play here. Because of where Indian economy is, the country is bound to be a priority market,” said Ritesh Mishra, India MD at M&S, which operates in the country through a joint venture with Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Retail.

he plan is to take their retail space from 1.1 million square feet now to 1.4million sqft by end of the year “We are already in about 36 cities. And even within those cities, there’s far more opportunities for us to do a bit more So as and when we get the right real estate, right malls, right locations, etc, we definitely want to open up more and more stores,” he added.

M&S, a mainstay of the UK high signs that move quickly from the cat street, has been trying to appeal to younger shoppers globally and announced an overhaul of its stores to expand its brick-and-mortar presence to build a more resilient business and focus on quality merchandise.

Also, companies such as Levi’s, Uniqlo and Celio are increasingly get- ting popular for functional basics like T-shirts and jeans, unlike fast-fashion rivals that are associated with de- signs that move quickly from the cat- walk to the showroom.

However, bargain-hunting, cash- squeezed Indian consumers still largely perceive M&S as pricey, compared to local brands like Zudio and global fast-fashion labels such as Zara and H&M.

“I think fast fashion is an overrated word. We stand for quality and elevated style essentials. Linen is one very essential category, swim- wear is another. These are our strengths and we will back it up. And, in India, if you have more colour, you are in fashion. So we drive those credentials,” said Mishra, who was previously head of operations, and property at the UK-based clothing retailer.

Over the past few years, India has seen a clutch of the world’s largest apparel brands open outlets banking on young consumers Increasingly embracing western-style Levi’s clothing. Over the past few quarters, most apparel retailers, have like seen growth tapering off as shoppers cut back on discretionary spends.

For M&S, women consumers contribute 60% to the revenue and a bulk of its overall sales – are in winter months.

The company said the current festive period will be a testing ground – for them as the winter period is ex- Is tremely crucial.


Source- The Economic Times

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