M&S in discussions to franchise Hong Kong and Macau stores
RETAIL giant Marks & Spencer is in talks to franchise out its 27-store business in Hong Kong and Macau as it continues to overhaul its international presence.
M&S said it has started discussions with long-term franchise partner Al-Futtaim, which already operates 43 of its stores across seven markets in the Middle East, Singapore and Malaysia.
The move comes as part of efforts to cut the group's wholly owned international businesses under a wider overhaul announced last November.
M&S said its stores in Hong Kong and Macau will continue to trade as normal while talks continue with Al-Futtaim, which will carry out several months of due diligence.
Paul Friston, Marks & Spencer's international director, said: "In November we set out our plans to create a more sustainable, profitable and customer-centric international business for M&S by focusing on our established partnerships.
"Al-Futtaim is a key partner to M&S in Asia and the Middle East and we are both committed to putting the customer at the heart of everything we do."
M&S first opened stores in Hong Kong in 1988 and said the business is profitable with a "loyal customer base".
It has worked with Al-Futtaim since 1998.