M&S prepares for a return to France


The Parisiens could soon be shopping at Marks & Spencer again.

People sign a giant petition against the planned closure of Marks and Spencer's European department stores outside one of the Paris branches

Foreign demand: French shoppers signed a petition against the closure of their Marks & Spencer 10 years ago

The department store chain is said to be planning its return to the French capital and could open a store on the Champs-Elysees as early as this summer.

It is expected to take over a 1400 square metre space currently filled by Esprit. The store would only sell fashion rather than food.

The Paris shop would allow M&S to test the water before making a bigger return to continental Europe.

It would come 10 years after M&S shut down its paris store on Boulevard Haussmann, despite shoppers signing a petition against the closure.

The retailer once had nearly 40 shops across Germany, France and Spain but closed them in 2001. The bulk of its 300 international stores are franchised and it still doesn't have any sites in France or Germany.

Marks & Spencer (up 1.5p at 356.5p) declined to comment but chief executive Marc Bolland has made it clear that international expansion is a priority and in November marked France as one of the world's 'strong apparel markets'.