British retail chain Marks & Spencer’s, which operates through an alliance with Reliance Retail, on Monday, said its India operations would be the largest outside the home market by the turn of 2016 when it will have over 80 stores here.
“India is a priority market for us and we are working closely with our partner Reliance Retail. We see India becoming our largest market outside England by 2016. We have set a clear plan to build a leadership position here. We are targeting around 80 stores here by 2016,” M&S Chief Executive Marc Bolland told reporters here.
As part of the expansion, the company will open eight more stores by the end of this fiscal, and the balance over the next two years.
As a leading retailer, Reliance Retail was the perfect partner for M&S with its extensive local expertise and experience, he said.
Mr. Bolland, however, refused to divulge investment that the company had so far made here or any revenue split. He also refused to share how much the company would invest to open these new stores.
The company at present operates 36 stores in the country, including the standalone flagship store at Bandra in the megapolis.
Last week, M&S had said its India sales rose 28.1 per cent in the first-half of the fiscal, but did not specify how much, while its global profit rose 13.5 per cent to 249.6 million pound on a 11.2 per cent rise in global revenues to 600 million pound during the same period, led by sales in India and China.
“We have successfully partnered M&S over the years to combine Reliance Retail’s expertise in retailing and understanding of the domestic marketplace. We look forward to our continued engagement with them,” Reliance Retail’s apparel business head Sriram Srinivasan said. Stating that the proposed expansion was part of the strategy to become a leading multi-channel retailer here, Mr. Bolland said India remained priority market for them.